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This Volume consists of Papers which appeared 
in the columns of the Catholic University Ga- 
zette, a publication which has been the organ of 
the new Irish University, and which will be 
found to contain more information on the sub- 
ject, to which it is devoted, than any other work 
of the kind, and is full of interesting and in- 
structive details. 

Though the Author has put his name in the 
title-page, he has thought it best to retain both 
the profession of incognito and the conversational 
tone in which he originally wrote; for the ob- 
vious reason, that, to have dropped either would 
have been to recast his volume. For such a task 
he could not promise himself leisure ; and, had 


he effected it, he might after all have made him- 
self more exact and solid only at the price of 
becoming less readable, at least in the judgment 
of a day, which keenly appreciates the proverb, 
that " a great book is a great evil ". In saying 
this, however, he has no intention of impl3dng 
that he has spared thought or pains in his com- 
position, or of apologizing for its matter. 

• October 28, 1856. 


Chapter I. Introductory - - - p. 1 

II. What is a University ? - - 9 

ni. Site of a University - - 26 

rV. University Life : Athens - - 49 

V. Free Trade in Knowledge: The Sophists 70 

VI. DiscipUne and Influence - - 90 

VII. Influence : Athenian Schools - 116 

VIII. Discipline: Maced(Miian and Boman 

Schools - - - 136 
IX. Downfall and Refuge of Ancient Civili- 
zation. The Lombards - - 158 
X. The Tradition of Civilization: The Isles 

of the North - - - 174 
XI. A Characteristic of the Popes : St. Gre- 
gory the Great - - 196 
XII. Moral of that Characteristic of the Popes: 

Pius the Ninth - _ _ 215 


XIII. Schools of Charlemagne : Paris - p. 226 

XIV. Supply and Demand : The Schoolmen 246 
XV. Professors and Tutors - - 269 

XVI. The Strength and Weakness of Universi- 
ties: Abelard - - - - 289 
XVII. The Ancient University of Dublin - 306 
XVIII. Colleges the Corrective of Universities: 

Oxford - - - 321 

XIX. Abuses of the Colleges : Oxford - 344 
XX. Universities and Seminaries : 1' Ecole des 

Hautes Etudes - - 361 




I HAVE it in purpose to commit to paper, time 
after time, various thoughts of my own, season- 
able, as I conceive, when a Catholic University is 
under formation, and apposite in a publication,* 
which is to be the record and organ of its pro- 
ceedings. An anonymous person, indeed, like 
myself, can claim no authority for anything he 
advances ; nor have I any intention of introdu- 
cing or sheltering myself under the sanction of 
the Institution which I wish to serve. My 
remarks will stand amid weightier matters like 
the non-official portion of certain government 
journals in foreign parts; and I trust they will 
have their use, though they are but individual 

* The Catholic University Gazette. 



in their origin, and meagre in their execution. 
When I say anything to the purpose, the gain is 
the University's ; when I am mistaken or unsuc- 
cessful, the failure is my own. 

The Prelates of the Irish Church are at pre- 
sent engaged in an anxious and momentous task, 
which has the inconvenience of being strange 
to us, if it be not novel. A University is not 
founded every day; and seldom indeed has it 
been founded under the peculiar circumstances 
which will now attend its introduction into Ca- 
tholic Ireland. Generally speaking, it has grown 
up out of schools, or colleges, or seminaries, or 
monastic bodies, which had already lasted for 
centuries; and, different as it is from them all, 
has been little else than their natural result and 
completion. While then it has been expanding 
into its peculiar and perfect form, it has at the 
same time been by anticipation educating sub- 
jects for its service, and has been creating and 
carrying along with it the national sympathy. 
Here, however, as the world is not slow to 
object, this great institution is to take its place 
among us without antecedent or precedent, whe- 
ther to recommend or to explain it. It receives, 
we are told, neither illustration nor augury from 


the history of the past, and must needs be 
brought into being as well as into shape. It has 
to force its way abruptly into an existing state 
of things, which has never duly felt the absence 
of it ; and it finds its most formidable obstacles, 
not in anything inherent in the undertaking 
itself, but in the circumambient atmosphere of 
misapprehension and prejudice into which it is 
received. Necessary as it may be, it has to be 
carried into efiect in the presence of a reluctant 
or perplexed public opinion, and that, without 
any counterbalancing assistance whatever, as has 
commonly been the case with Universities, from 
royal favour or civil sanction. 

This is what many a man will urge, who is 
favourable to the project itself, viewed apart 
from the difiiculties of the time; nor can the 
force of such representations be denied. On the 
other hand, such difficulties must be taken for 
what they are really worth ; they exist, not so 
much in adverse facts, as in the opinion of the 
world about the facts. It would be absurd to 
deny, that grave and good men, zealous for reli- 
gion, and experienced in the state of the country, 
have had serious misgivings on the subject, and 
liave thought the vision of a Catholic University 


too noble, too desirable, to be possible. Still, 
making every admission on this score wbicli can 
be required of me, I tliink it is true, after all, 
that our main adversary is to be found, not in 
the unfavourable judgments of particular persons, 
thouorh such there are, but in the vague and dif- 
fusive influence of what is called Public Opinion. 
I am not so irrational as to despise Public 
Opinion ; I have no thought of making light of 
a tribunal established in the conditions and ne- 
cessities of human nature. It has its place in 
the very constitution of society; it ever has 
been, it ever will be, whether in the common- 
wealth of nations, or in the humble and secluded 
village. But wholesome as it is as a principle, 
it has, in common with all things human, great 
imperfections, and makes many mistakes. Too 
often it is nothing else than what the whole 
world opines, and no one in particular. Your 
neighbour assures you that every one is of one 
way of thinking; that there is but one opinion 
on the subject; and while he claims not to be 
answerable for it, he does not hesitate to pro- 
pound and spread it. In such cases, every one 
is appealing to every one else ; and the consti- 
tuent members of a community one by one 


think it their duty to defer and succumb to the 
voice of that same community as a whole. 

It would be extravagant to maintain that this 
is the adequate resolution of the feelings which 
have for some time prevailed among us as to the 
establishment of our University ; but, so far as it 
is correct, this follows, viz. : that the despondency 
with which the project is regarded by so many 
persons, is the offspring, not of their judgment, 
but mainly (I say it, as will be seen directly, 
without any disrespect) of their imagination. 
Public Opinion especially acts upon the imagina- 
tion ; it does not convince, but it impresses ; it 
has the force of authority, rather than of reason ; 
and concurrence in it is, not an intelligent de- 
cision, but a submission or belief. This circum- 
stance at once suggests to us how we are to 
proceed in the case under consideration. Argu- 
ments are the fit weapons with which to assail 
an erroneous judgment, but statements and ac- 
tions must be brought to bear upon a false 
imagination. The mind in that case has been 
misled by representations ; it must be set right 
by representations. It demands of us, not rea- 
soning, but discussion. In works on Logic, we 
meet with a sophistical argument, the object of 


which is to prove that motion is impossible ; and 
it is not uncommon, before scientifically handling 
it, to suggest a practical refutation of it ; — Sol- 
vitur ambulando. Such is the sort of reply 
which I think it may be useful just now to 
make to public opinion, which is so indisposed 
to allow that a Catholic University of the 
English tongue can be set in motion. I will 
neither directly prove that it is possible, nor 
answer the allegations in behalf of its impossibi- 
lity ; I shall attempt a humbler, but perhaps a 
not less efficacious service, in employing myself 
to the best of my ability, and according to the 
patience of the reader, in setting forth what a 
University is. I will leave the controversy to 
others ; I will confine myself to description and 
statement, concerning the nature, the character, 
the work, the peculiarities of a University, the 
aims with which it is established, the wants it 
may supply, the methods it adopts, what it 
involves and requires, what its relations to 
other institutions, and what has been its history. 
I am sanguine that my labour will not be thrown 
away, though it aims at nothing very learned, 
nothing very systematic ; though it should wan- 
der from one subject to another, as each happens 


to arise, and gives no promise whatever of ter- 
minating in the production of a book. 

And in attempting as much as this, while I 
hope I shall gain instruction from criticisms of 
whatever sort, I do not mean to be put out by 
them, whether they come from those who know 
more, or those who know less than myself; — from 
those who take exactor, broader, more erudite, 
more sagacious, more philosophical views than 
my own ; or those who have yet to attain such 
measure of truth and of judgment as I may 
myself claim. I must not be disturbed at the 
animadversions of those who have a right to feel 
superior to me, nor at the complaints of others 
who think I do not enter into or satisfy their 
difficulties. If I am charged with being shallow 
on the one part, or off-hand on the other, if I 
myself feel that fastidiousness at my own at- 
tempts, which grows upon an author as he 
multiplies his compositions, I shall console my- 
self with the reflection, that life is not long 
enough to do more than our best, whatever that 
may be; that they who are ever taking aim, 
make no hits; that they who never venture, 
never gain ; that to be ever safe, is to be ever 
feeble ; and that to do some substantial good, 


the compensation for much incidental imperfec- 

With thoughts like these, which, such as 
they are, have been the companions and the 
food of my life hitherto, I address myself to my 


WHAT IS A university: 

If I were asked to describe as briefly and 
popularly as I could, what a University was, I 
should draw my answer from its ancient designa- 
tion of a Studium Generale, or " School of 
Universal Learning". This description implies 
the assemblage of strangers from all parts in one 
spot; — from all parts; else, how will you find 
professors and students for every department of 
knowledge? and in one spot; else, how can 
there be any school at all? Accordingly, in 
its simple and rudimental form, it is a school of 
knowledge of every kind, consisting of teachers 
and learners from every quarter. Many things 
are requisite to complete and satisfy the idea 
embodied in this description ; but such a Univer- 
sity seems to be in its essence, a place for the 
communication and circulation of thought, by 
means of personal intercourse, through a wide 
extent of country. 


There is nothing far-fetched or unreasonable 
in the idea thus presented to us ; and if this be 
a University, then a University does but con- 
template a necessity of our nature, and is but 
one specimen in a particular department, out of 
many which might be adduced in others, of a 
provision for that necessity. Mutual education, 
in a large sense of the word, is one of the great 
and incessant occupations of human society, car- 
ried on partly with set purpose, and partly not. 
One generation forms another ; and the existing 
generation is ever acting and reacting upon itself 
in the persons of its individual members. Now, 
in this process, books, I need scarcely say, that 
is, the littera scripta, are one special instrument. 
It is true; and emphatically so in this age. 
Considering the prodigious powers of the press, 
and how they are developed at this time in the 
never-intermitting issue of periodicals, tracts, 
pamphlets, works in series, and light literature, 
we must allow there never was a time which 
promised fairer for dispensing with every other 
means of information and instruction. What 
can we want more, you will say, for the intellec- 
tual education of the whole man, and for every 
man, than so exuberant and diversified and 


persevering a promulgation of all kinds of know- 
ledge ? Why, you will ask, need we go up to 
knowledge, when knowledge comes down to 
us? The Sybil wrote her prophecies upon the 
leaves of the forest, and wasted them ; but here 
such careless profusion might be prudently in- 
dulged, for it can be afforded without loss, in con- 
sequence of the almost fabulous fecundity of the 
instrument which these latter ages have invented. 
We have sermons in stones, and books in the 
running brooks ; works larger and more compre- 
hensive than those which have gained ancients 
an immortality, issue forth every morning, and 
are projected onwards to the ends of the earth at 
the rate of hundreds of miles a day. Our seats 
are strewed, our pavements are powdered, with 
swarms of little tracts ; and the very bricks of our 
city walls preach wisdom, by largely informing 
us where we can at once cheaply purchase it. 

I allow all this, and much more; such cer- 
tainly is the popular education, and its effects 
are remarkable. Nevertheless, after all, even in 
this age, when men are really serious about 
getting what, in the language of trade, is called 
"a good article", when they aim at something 
precise, something refined, something really lu- 


minous, something really large, something choice, 
they go to another market; they avail them- 
selves, in some shape or other, of the rival me- 
thod, the ancient method, of oral instruction, of 
present communication between man and man, 
of teachers instead of teaching, of the personal 
influence of a master, and the humble initiation 
of a disciple, and, in consequence, of great cen- 
tres of pilgrimage and throng, which such a 
method of education necessarily involves. This, 
I think, will be found good in all those depart- 
ments or aspects of society, wliich possess an 
interest sufficient to bind men together, or to 
constitute what is called "a world". It holds in 
the political world, and in the high world, and 
in the religious world ; and it holds also in the 
literary and scientific world. 

If the actions of men may be taken as any 
test of their convictions, then we have reason 
for saying this, viz. : — that the province and the 
inestimable benefit of the littera scripta is that 
of being a record of truth, and an authority of 
appeal, and an instrument of teaching in the 
hands of a teacher ; but that, if we wish to be- 
come exact and fully furnished in any subject of 
teaching which is diversified and complicated. 


we must consult the living man and listen to liis 
living voice. I am not bound to investigate the 
cause of this, and anything I may say will, I am 
conscious, be short of its full analysis ; — perhaps 
we may suggest, that no books can get through 
the number of minute questions which it is 
possible to ask on any extended subject, or hit 
upon the very difficulties which are respectively 
felt by each reader in succession. Or again, 
that no book can convey the special spirit and 
delicate peculiarities of its subject with that 
rapidity and certainty which attend on the sym- 
pathy of mind with mind, through the eyes, the 
look, the accent, and the manner, in casual ex- 
pressions thrown off at the moment, and the un- 
studied turns of familiar conversation. But I am 
already dwelling too long on what is but an inci- 
dental portion of my main subject. Whatever 
be the cause, the fact is undeniable. The gene- 
ral principles of any study you may learn by 
books at home; but the detail, the colour, the 
tone, the air, the life which makes it live in us, 
you must catch all these from those in whom it 
lives already. You must imitate the student in 
French or German, who is not content with his 
grammar, but goes to Paris or Dresden: you 


must take example from the young artist, who 
aspires to visit the great Masters in Florence and 
in Rome. Till we have discovered some intel- 
lectual daguerreotype, which takes off the course 
of thought, and the form, lineaments, and fea- 
tures of truth, as completely, and minutely, as 
the optical instrument produces the sensible ob- 
ject, we must come to the teachers of wisdom to 
learn wisdom; we must repair to the fountain, 
and drink there. Portions may go from thence 
to the ends of the earth by means of books ; but 
the fulness is in one place alone. It is in such 
assemblages and congregations of intellect that 
books themselves, the master -pieces of human 
genius, are written, or at least originated. 

The principle on which I have been insisting 
is so obvious, and instances in point so ready, 
that I should think it tiresome to proceed with 
the subject, except that one or two illustrations 
may serve to explain my own language about it, 
which may not have been as clear as the subject 
on which it has been employed. 

For instance, the polished manners and high- 
bred behaviour which are so difficult of attain- 
ment, and so strictly personal when attained, 
which are so much admired in society, from 


society are obtained. All that goes to constitute 
a gentleman, — the carriage, gait, address, ges- 
tures, voice; the ease, the self-possession, the 
courtesy, the power of conversing, the success 
in not offending ; the lofty principle, the delicacy 
of thought, the happiness of expression, the 
taste and propriety, the generosity and forbear- 
ance, the candour and consideration, the open- 
ness of hand ; — these qualities, some of them 
come by nature, some of them may be found 
in any rank, some of them are a direct precept 
of Christianity ; but the full assemblage of them, 
bound up in the unity of an individual cha- 
racter, do we expect they can be learned from 
books? are they not necessarily acquired, where 
they are to be found, in high society? The 
very nature of the case leads us to say so ; you 
cannot fence without an antagonist, nor chal- 
lenge all comers in disputation before you have 
supported a thesis ; and in like manner, it stands 
to reason, you cannot learn to converse till you 
have the world to converse with; you cannot 
unlearn your natural bashfulness, or awkward- 
ness, or stiffness, or other besetting deformity, 
till you serve your time in some school of 
manners. Well, and is it not so in matter of 


fact? Tlie metropolis, the court, the great 
houses of the land, are the centres to which at 
stated times the country comes up, as to shrines 
of refinement and good taste ; and then in due 
time the country goes back again home, en- 
riched with a portion of those social accomplish- 
ments, which those very visits serve to call out 
and heighten in the gracious dispensers of them. 
We are unable to conceive how the "gentle- 
manlike" can otherwise be maintained; and 
maintained in this way it is. 

And now a second instance : and here too I 
am going to speak without personal experience 
of the subject I am introducing. I admit I 
have not been in Parliament, any more than I 
have figured in the heau monde; yet I cannot 
but think that statesmanship, as well as high 
breeding, is learned, not by books, but in certain 
centres of education. If it be not presumption 
to say so. Parliament puts a clever man au 
courant with politics and aflTairs of state in a 
way surprising to himself A member of the 
Legislature, if tolerably observant, begins to see 
things with new eyes, even though his views 
undergo no change. Words have a meaning 
now, and ideas a reality, such as they had not 


before. He hears a vast deal in public speeches 
and private conversation, which is never put 
into print. The bearings of measures and 
events, the action of parties, and the persons of 
friends and enemies, are brought out to the man 
who is in the midst of them with a distinctness 
which the most diligent perusal of newspapers 
will fail to throw around them. It is access to 
the fountain-heads of political wisdom and ex- 
perience, it is daily intercourse, of one kind or 
another, with the multitude who go up to them, 
it is familiarity with business, it is access to the 
contributions of fact and opinion thrown toge- 
ther by many witnesses from many quarters, 
which does this for him. However, I need not 
account for a fact, to which it is sufficient to 
appeal; that the Houses of Parliament and the 
atmosphere around them are a sort of Univer- 
sity of politics. 

As regards the world of science, we find a 
remarkable instance of the principle which I am 
illustrating, in the periodical meetings for its 
advance which have arisen in the course of the 
last twenty years, such as the British Associa- 
tion. Such gatherings would to many persons 
appear at first sight simply preposterous. Above 


all subjects of study, Science is conveyed, is 
propagated, by books, or by private teaching ; 
experiments and investigations are conducted in 
silence ; discoveries are made in solitude. What 
have philosophers to do with festive celebrities, 
and panegyrical solemnities with mathematical 
and physical truth ? Yet on a closer attention 
to the subject, it is found that not even scientific 
thought can dispense with the suggestions, the 
instruction, the stimulus, the sympathy, the 
intercourse with mankind on a large scale, which 
such meetings secure. A fine time of year is 
chosen, when days are long, skies are bright, 
the earth smiles, and all nature rejoices; a city 
or town is taken by turns, of ancient name or 
modern opulence, where buildings are spacious 
and hospitality hearty. The novelty of place 
and circumstance, the excitement of strange, or 
the refreshment of well-known faces, the majesty 
of rank or of genius, the amiable charities of 
men pleased both with themselves and with 
each other; the elevated spirits, the circulation 
of thought, the curiosity ; the morning sections, 
the outdoor exercise, the well-furnished, well- 
earned board, the not ungraceful hilarity, the 
evening circle; the brilliant lecture, the dis- 


cussions or collisions or guesses of great men 
one ■with another, the narratives of scientific 
processes, of hopes, disappointments, conflicts, 
and successes, the splendid eulogistic orations; 
these and the like constituents of the annual 
celebration, are considered to do something real 
and substantial for the advance of knowledge 
which can be done in no other way. Of course 
they can but be occasional : they answer to the 
annual Act, or Commencement, or Commemora- 
tion of a University, not to its ordinary con- 
dition ; but they are of a University nature ; and 
I can well believe in their utility. They issue 
in the promotion of a certain living and, as it 
were, bodily communication of knowledge from 
one to another, of a general interchange of 
ideas, a comparison and adjustment of science 
with science, of an enlargement of mind, intel- 
lectual and social, of an ardent love of the par- 
ticular study, which may be chosen by each 
individual, and a noble devotion to its interests. 

Such meetings, I repeat, are but periodical, 
and only partially represent the idea of a Uni- 
versity. The bustle and whirl which are their 
usual concomitants, are in ill keeping with the 
order and gravity of earnest intellectual educa- 


tion. We desiderate the means of instruction 
without the interruption of our ordinary habits ; 
nor need we seek it long, for the natural course 
of things brings it about, while we debate over 
it. In every great country, the metropolis itself 
becomes a sort of necessary University, whether 
we will or no. As the chief city is the seat of 
the court, of high society, of politics, and of law, 
so as a matter of course is it the seat of letters 
also ; and at this time, for a long term of years, 
London and Paris are in fact and in operation 
Universities, though in Paris its famous Univer- 
sity is no more, and in London a University 
scarcely exists except as a board of management. 
The newspapers, magazines, reviews, journals, 
and periodicals of all kinds, the publishing trade, 
the libraries, museums, and academies there found, 
the learned and scientific societies, necessarily 
invest it with the functions of a University ; and 
that atmosphere of intellect, wliich in a former 
age hung over Oxford or Bologna or Salamanca, 
has, with the change of time, moved away to 
the centre of civil government. Thither come 
up youths from all parts of the country, the 
students of law, medicine, and the fine arts, and 
the employes and attaches of literature. There 


they live, as chance determines; and they are 
satisfied with their temporary home, for they 
find in it all that was promised to them there. 
They have not come in vain, as far as their own 
object in coming is concerned. They have not 
learned any particular religion, but they have 
learned their own particular profession well. 
They have, moreover, become acquainted with 
the habits, manners, and opinions of their place 
of sojourn, and done their part in maintaining 
the tradition of them. We cannot then be 
without virtual Universities; a metropolis is 
such : the simple question is, whether the edu- 
cation sought and given should be based on 
principle, formed upon rule, directed to the 
highest ends, or left to the random succession of 
masters and schools, one after another, with a 
melancholy waste of thought and an extreme 
hazard of truth. 

Religious teaching itself afibrds us an illustra- 
tion of our subject to a certain point. It does 
not indeed seat itself merely in centres of the 
world ; this is impossible from the nature of the 
case. It is intended for the many, not the few ; 
its subject-matter is truth necessary, not truth 
recondite and rare ; but it concurs in the prin- 


ciple of a University so far as this, that its great 
instrument, or rather organ, has ever been that 
which nature prescribes in all education, the 
personal presence of a teacher, or, in theological 
language. Oral Tradition. It is the living voice, 
the breathing form, the expressive countenance, 
which preaches, which catechises. Truth, a 
subtle, invisible, manifold spirit, is poured into 
the mind of the scholar by his eyes and ears, 
through his affections, imagination, and reason ; 
it is poured into his mind and is sealed up there 
in perpetuity, by propounding and repeating it, 
by questioning and requestioning, by correcting 
and explaining, by progressing, and then re- 
curring to first principles, by all those ways 
which are implied in the word " catechising". 
In the first ages, it was a work of long time ; 
months, sometimes years, were devoted to the 
arduous task of disabusing the mind of the in- 
cipient Christian of its pagan errors, and of 
moulding it upon the Christian faith. The Scrip- 
tures indeed were at hand for the study of those 
who could avail themselves of them; but St. 
Irenaeus does not hesitate to speak of whole 
races, who had been converted to Christianity, 
without being able to read them. To be unable 


to read or write was in those times no evidence 
of want of learning: the hermits of the deserts 
were, in this sense of the word, illiterate; yet 
the great St. Antony, though he knew not 
letters, was a match in disputation for the 
learned philosophers who came to try him. 
Didymus again, the great Alexandrian theologian, 
was blind. The ancient discipline, called the 
Disciplina Arcani, involved the same principle. 
The more sacred doctrines of Revelation were 
not committed to books, but passed on by suc- 
cessive tradition. The doctrines of the Blessed 
Trinity and the Eucharist appear to have 
been so handed down for some htmdred years ; 
and when at length reduced to writing, they 
have filled many folios, which after all have left 
much unsaid. 

But I have said more than enough in illustra- 
tion ; I end as I began ; — a University is a place 
of concourse, whither students come from every 
quarter for every kind of knowledge. You 
cannot have the best of every kind everywhere ; 
you must go to some great city or emporium for 
it. There you have all the choicest productions 
of nature and art all together, which you find 
each in its own separate place elsewhere. All 


the riches of the land, and of the world, are 
carried up thither ; there are the best markets, 
and there the best workmen. It is the centre of 
trade, the supreme court of fashion, the umpire 
of rival skill, and the standard of things rare 
and precious. It is the place for seeing galleries 
of first-rate pictures, and for hearing wonderful 
voices and miraculous performers. It is the 
place for great preachers, great orators, great 
nobles, great statesmen. In the nature of things, 
greatness and unity go together; excellence 
implies a centre. Such, then, for the third or 
fourth time, is a University ; I hope I do not 
weary out the reader by repeating it. It is the 
place to which a thousand schools make contri- 
butions ; in which the intellect may safely range 
and speculate, sure to find its equal in some 
antagonist activity, and its judge in the tribunal 
of truth. It is a place where inquiry is pushed 
forward, and discoveries verified and perfected, 
and rashness rendered innocuous, and error ex- 
posed, by the collision of mind with mind, and 
knowledge with knowledge. It is the place 
where the professor becomes eloquent, and a 
missionary and preacher of science, displaying 
it in its most complete and most winning form, 


pouring it forth witli the zeal of enthusiasm, 
and lighting up his own love of it in the breasts 
of his hearers. It is the place where the cate- 
chist makes good his groimd as he goes, treading 
in the truth day by day into the ready memory, 
and wedcrincp and tightening it into the ex- 
panding reason. It is a place which attracts the 
affections of the young by its fame, wins the 
judgment of the middle-aged by its beauty, and 
rivets the memory of the old by its associations. 
It is a seat of wisdom, a light of the world, a 
minister of the faith, an Alma Mater of the 
rising generation. It is this and a great deal 
more, and demands a somewhat better head and 
hand than mine to describe it well. 

Such is it in its idea and in its purpose ; such 
in good measure has it before now been in fact. 
Shall it ever be again ? We are going forward 
in the strength of the Cross, vinder the patronage 
of Mary, in the name of Patrick, to attempt it. 




If we would know what a University is, con* 
sidered in its elementary idea, we must betake 
ourselves to the first and most celebrated home 
of European literature, and source of European 
civilization, to the bright and beautiful Athens, — 
Athens, whose schools drew to her bosom, and 
then sent back again to the business of life, the 
youth of the Western World for a long thousand 
years. Seated on the verge of the continent, 
the city seemed hardly suited for the duties of a 
central metropolis of knowledge; yet, what it 
lost in convenience of approach, it gained in its 
neighbourhood to the traditions of the mys- 
terious East, and in the loveliness of the region 
in which it lay. Hither, then, as to a sort of 
ideal land, where all archetypes of the great 
and the fair were found in substantial being, and 
all departments of truth explored, and all di- 
versities of intellectual power exhibited, where 


taste and philosophy were ma^tically enthroned 
as in a royal court, where there was no so- 
vereignty but that of mind/ and no nobility but 
that of genius, where professors were rulers, and 
princes did homage ; hither flocked continually 
from the very corners of the orbis ^s^arum, the 
many-tongued generation, just risiig, or just 
risen into manhood, to gain wisdom. 

Pisistratus had in an early age discovered and 
nursed the infant genius of his people, and 
Cimon, after the Persian war, had given it a 
home. That war had established the naval 
supremacy of Athens ; she had become an impe- 
rial state ; and the lonians, bound to her by the 
double chain of kindred and of subjection, were 
importing into her both their merchandize and 
their civilization. The arts and philosophy of 
the Asiatic coast were easily carried across the 
sea, and there was Cimon, as I have said, with 
his ample fortune, ready to receive them with 
due honours. Not content with patronizing 
their professors, he built the first of those noble 
porticos, of which we hear so much in Athens, 
and he formed the groves, which in process of 
time became the celebrated Academy. Planting 
is one of the most graceful, as in Athens it was 


one of the most beneficent, of employments. 
Cimon took in hand the wild wood, pruned and 
dressed it, and laid it out with handsome walks 
and welcome fountains. Nor, while hospitable 
to the authors of the city's civilization, was he 
ungrateful to the instruments of her prosperity. 
His trees extended their cool, umbrageous 
branches over the merchants, who assembled 
in the Agora, for many generations. 

Those merchants certainly had deserved that 
act of bounty ; for all the while their ships had 
been carrying forth the intellectual fame of 
Athens to the western world. Then commenced 
what may be called her University existence. 
Pericles, who succeeded Cimon both in the go- 
vernment and in the patronage of art, is said by 
Plutarch to have entertained the idea of making 
Athens the capital of federated Greece : in this 
he failed, but his encouragement of such men as 
Phidias and Anaxagoras led the way to her 
acquiring a far more lasting sovereignty over a 
far wider empire. Little understanding the 
sources of her own greatness, Athens would go 
to war: peace is the interest of a seat of com- 
merce and the arts ; but to war she went ; yet to 
her, whether peace or war, it mattered not. 


The political power of Athens waned and disap- 
peared ; kingdoms rose and fell ; centuries rolled 
away, — they did but bring fresh trivunphs to the 
city of the poet and the sage. There at length 
the swarthy Moor and Spaniard were seen to 
meet the blue-eyed Gaul ; and the Cappadocian, 
late subject of Mithridates, gazed without alarm 
at the haughty conquering Roman. Revolution 
after revolution passed over the face of Europe, 
as well as of Greece, but still she was there, — 
Athens, the city of mind, — as radiant, as splen- 
did, as delicate, as young, as ever she had been. 

Many a more fruitful coast or isle is washed 
by the blue iEgean, many is the spot more 
beautiful or sublime to see, many the territory 
more ample ; but there was one charm in Attica, 
which in the same perfection was nowhere else. 
The deep pastures of Arcadia, the plain of 
Argos, the Thessalian vale, these had not the 
gift; Boeotia, which lay to its immediate north, 
was notorious for its very want of it. The 
heavy atmosphere of that Boeotia might be 
good for vegetation, but it was associated in 
popular belief with the dulness of the Boeotian 
intellect: on the contrary, the special purity, 
elasticity, clearness, and salubrity of the air of 


Attica, fit concomitant and emblem of its genius, 
did that for it which earth did not ; — it brought 
out every bright hue and tender shade of the 
landscape on which it was spread, and would 
have illuminated the face even of a more bare 
and rugged country. 

A confined triangle, perhaps fifty miles its 
greatest length, and thirty its greatest breadth ; 
two elevated rocky barriers, meeting at an angle ; 
three prominent mountains, commanding the 
plain, — Parnes, Pentelicus, and Hymettus; an 
unsatisfactory soil; some streams, not always 
full ; — such is about the report which the agent 
of a London company would have made of 
Attica. He would report that the chmate was 
mild ; the hills were limestone ; there was plenty 
of good marble ; more pasture land than at first 
survey might have been expected, sufficient 
certainly for sheep and goats; fisheries produc- 
tive ; silver mines once, but long since worked 
out ; figs fair ; oil first-rate ; olives in profusion. 
But what he would not think of noting down, 
was, that that olive tree was so choice in nature 
and so noble in shape, that it excited a religious 
veneration; and that it took so kindly to the 
light soil, as to expand into woods upon the 


open plain, and to climb up and fringe the hills. 
He would not think of writing word to his 
employers, how that clear air, of which I have 
spoken, brought out, yet blended and subdued, 
the colours on the marble, till they had a soft- 
ness and harmony, for all their richness, which 
in a picture looks exaggerated, yet is after all 
within the truth. He would not tell, how that 
same delicate and brilliant atmosphere freshened 
up the pale olive, till the olive forgot its mono- 
tony, and its cheek glowed like the arbutus or 
beech of the Umbrian hills. He would say 
nothing of the thyme and thousand fragrant 
herbs which carpeted Hymettus ; he would hear 
nothing of the hum of its bees ; nor take much 
account of the rare flavour of its honey, since 
Gozo and Minorca were sufficient for the English 
demand. He would look over the JEgean from 
the height he had ascended; he would follow 
with his eye the chain of islands, which, starting 
from the Sunian headland, seemed to offer the 
fabled divinities of Attica, when they would 
visit their Ionian cousins, a sort of viaduct 
thereto across the sea : but this thought would 
not occur to him, nor any admiration of the 
dark violet billows with their white edges down 


below; nor of those graceful, fan-like jets of 
silver upon the rocks, which slowly rise aloft 
like water spirits from the deep, then shiver, and 
break, and spread, and shroud themselves, and 
disappear, in a soft mist of foam; nor of the 
gentle, incessant heaving and panting of the 
whole liquid plain; nor of the long waves, 
keeping steady time, like a line of soldiery, as 
they resound upon the hollow shore, — he would 
not deign to notice the restless living element at 
all, except to bless his stars that he was not upon 
it. Nor the distinct detail, nor the refined 
colouring, nor the graceful outline and roseate 
golden hue of the jutting crags, nor the bold 
shadows cast from Otus or Laurium by the de- 
clining sun; — our agent of a mercantile firm 
would not value these matters even at a low 
figure. Rather we must turn for the sympathy 
we seek to yon pilgrim student, come from a 
semi-barbarous land to that small corner of the 
earth, as to a shrine, where he might take his 
fill of gazing on those emblems and coruscations 
of invisible unoriginate perfection. It was the 
stranger from a remote province, from Britain or 
from Mauritania, to whom a scene so different 
from that of his chilly, woody swamps, or of his 


fiery choking sands, would have shown him in 
a measure what a real University must be, by 
holding out to him the sort of country, which 
was its suitable home. 

Nor was this all a University required, and 
found in Athens. No one, even there, could 
live on poetry. If the students at that famous 
place had nothing better than bright hues 
and soothing sounds, they would not have 
been able or disposed to turn their residence 
there to much account. Of course they must 
have the means of living, nay, in a certain sense, 
of enjoyment, if Athens was to be an Alma 
Mater at the time, or to remain afterwards a 
pleasant thought in their memory. And so they 
had : be it recollected Athens was a port, and a 
mart of trade, perhaps the first in Greece ; and 
this was very much to the point, when a num- 
ber of strangers were ever flocking to it, whose 
combat was to be with intellectual, not physical 
difficulties, and who claimed to have their bodily 
wants supplied, that they might be at leisure to 
set about furnishing their minds. Now, barren 
as was the soil of Attica, and bare the face of 
the coimtry, yet it had only too many resources 
for an elegant, nay luxurious abode there. So 


abundant were the imports of the place, that it 
was a common saying, that the productions, 
which were found singly elsewhere, were brought 
all together in Athens. Corn and wine, the 
staple of subsistence in such a climate, came 
from the isles of the iEgean; fine wool and 
carpeting from Asia Minor ; slaves, as now, from 
the Euxine, and timber too ; and iron and brass 
from the coasts of the Mediterranean. The 
Athenian did not condescend to manufactures 
himself, but encouraged them in others; and a 
population of foreigners caught at the lucrative 
occupation both for home consumption and for 
exportation. Their cloth, and other textures 
for dress and furniture, and their hardware — for 
instance, armour — were in great request. Labour 
was cheap ; stone and marble in plenty ; and the 
taste and skill, which at first were devoted to 
public buildings, as temples and porticos, were 
in course of time applied to the mansions of 
public men. If nature did much for Athens, it 
is undeniable that art did much more. 

Here some one will interrupt me with the 
remark : " By the bye, where are we, and 
whither are we going ? — what has all this to do 
with a University? at least what has it to do 


with education ? It is instructive doubtless ; but 
still how much has it to do with your subject?" 
Now I beg to assure the reader that I am most 
conscientiously employed upon my subject; and 
I should have thought every one would have 
seen this: however, since the objection is made, 
I may be allowed to pause awhile, and show 
distinctly the drift of what I have been saying, 
before I go farther. What has this to do with 
my subject ! why, the question of the site is the 
very first that comes into consideration, when a 
Studium Generale is contemplated ; for that site 
should be a liberal and noble one; who will 
deny it? All authorities agree in this, and very 
little reflection will be sufficient to make it clear. 
I recollect a conversation I once had on this 
very subject with a very eminent man. I was a 
youth of eighteen, and was leaving my Uni- 
versity for the Long Vacation, when I found 
myself in company in a public conveyance with 
a middle-aged person, whose face was strange to 
me. However, it was the great academical 
luminary of the day, whom afterwards I knew 
very well. Luckily for me, I did not suspect 
it ; and luckily too, it was a fancy of his, as his 
friends knew, to make himself on easy terms 


especiallj with stage-coach companions. So, 
what with my flippancy and his condescension, I 
managed to hear many things which were novel 
to me at the time ; and one point which he was 
strong upon, and was evidently fond of, was the 
material pomp and circimistance which should 
enviion a great seat of learning. He considered 
it was worth the consideration of the govern- 
ment, whether Oxford should not stand in a 
domain of its own. An ample range, say four 
miles in diameter, should be turned into wood 
and meadow, and the University should be ap- 
proached on all sides by a magnificent park, 
with fine trees in groups and groves and avenues, 
and with glimpses and views of the fair city, as 
the traveller drew near it There is nothing 
surely absurd in the idea, though it would cost 
a roimd simi to realise it. What has a better 
claim to the purest and fairest possessions of 
nature, than the seat of wisdom ? So thought 
my coach companion; and he did but ex- 
press the tradition of ages and the instinct of 

For instance, take the great University of 
Paris. That famous school engrossed as its 
territory the whole south bank of the Seine, and 



occupied one half, and that the pleasanter half, 
of the city. King Louis had the island pretty 
well as his own, — it was scarcely more than a 
fortification; and the north of the river was 
given over to the nobles and citizens to do what 
they could with its marshes; but the eligible 
south, rising fiorn the stream, which swept 
around its base, to the fair summit of St. Gene- 
vieve, with its broad meadows, its vineyards and 
its gardens, and with the sacred elevation of 
Montmartrc confronting it, all this was the in- 
heritance of the University. There was that 
pleasant Pratum, stretching along the river's 
bank, in which the students for centuries took 
their recreation, which Alcuin seems to mention 
in his farewell verses to Paris, and which has 
given a name to the great Abbey of St. Germain- 
dcs-Pres. For long years it was devoted to the 
purposes of innocent and healthy enjoyment; but 
evil times came on the University; disorder 
arose within its precincts, and the fair meadow 
became the scene of party brawls ; heresy stalked 
through Europe, and, Germany and England no 
longer sending their contingent of students, a 
heavy debt was the consequence to the acade- 
mical body. To let their lands was the only 


resource left to them: buildings rose upon it, 
and spread along tlie green sod, and the country 
at length became town. Great was the grief 
and indignation of the doctors and masters, 
when this catastrophe occurred. " A wretched 
sight", said the Proctor of the German nation, 
" a wretched sight, to witness the sale of that 
ancient manor, whither the muses were wont to 
wander for retirement and pleasure. Whither 
shall the youthful student now betake himself, 
what relief will he find for his eyes, wearied 
with intense reading, now that the pleasant 
stream is taken from him ?" Two centuries and 
more have passed since this complaint was 
uttered ; and time has shown that the outward 
calamity, which it recorded, was but the emblem 
of the great moral vicissitude, which was to 
follow ; till the institution itself has followed its 
green meadows, into the region of things which 
once were and now are not. 

And in Kke manner, when they were first 
contemplating a University in Belgium, some 
centuries ago, " Many", says Lipsius, " suggested 
Mechlin, as an abode healthy and clean, but 
Lou vain was preferred, as for other reasons, so 
because no city seemed, from the disposition of 


place and people, more suitable for learned 
leisure. Who will not approve the decision? 
Can a site be healthier or more pleasant? The 
atmosphere pure and cheerful ; the spaces open 
and delightful; meadows, fields, vines, groves, 
nay, I may say, a rus in urbe. Ascend and 
walk round the walls ; what do you look down 
upon ? Does not the wonderful and delightful 
variety smooth the brow and soothe the mind? 
You have corn, and apples, and grapes; sheep 
and oxen ; and birds chirping or singing. Now 
carry your feet or your eyes beyond the walls ; 
there are streamlets, the river meandering along ; 
country-houses, convents, the superb fortress; 
copses or woods fill up the scene, and spots for 
simple enjoyment". And then he breaks out 
into poetry : 

Salvete Athenas nostras, Athenae Belgicae, 
Te Gallus, te Germanus, et te Sarmata 
Invisit, et Britannus, et te duplicis 
Hispaniae alummis, etc. 

Extravagant, then, and wayward as might be 
the thought of my learned coach companion, 
when, in the nineteenth century, he imagined, 
Norman-wise, to turn a score of villages into a 


park or pleasaunce, still, the waywardness of liis 
fancy is excused by the justness of his principle ; 
for certainly, such as he would have made it, a 
University ought to be. Old Antony-a-Wood, 
discoursing on the demands of a University, had 
expressed the same sentiment long before him ; 
as Horace in ancient times, with reference to 
Athens itself, when he spoke of seeking truth 
" in the groves of Academe". And to Athens, 
as will be seen. Wood himself appeals, when he 
would discourse of Oxford. Among " those 
things which are required to make a University", 
he puts down, — 

" First, a good and pleasant site, where there 
is a wholesome and temperate constitution of the 
air; composed with waters, springs or wells, 
woods and pleasant fields ; which being obtained, 
those commodities are enough to invite students 
to stay and abide there. As the Athenians in 
ancient times were happy for their conveniences, 
so also were the Britons, when by a remnant of 
the Grecians that came amongst them, they 
or their successors selected such a place in 
Britain to plant a school or schools therein, 
which for its pleasant situation was afterwards 
called Bellositum or Bellosite, now Oxford, 


privileged with all those conveniences before 

By others the local advantages of that Univer- 
sity have been more philosophically analyzed ; — 
for instance, with a reference to its position in 
the middle of southern England ; its situation on 
several islands in a broad plain, through which 
many streams flowed ; the surrounding marshes, 
f which, in times when it was needed, protected 
the city from invaders; its own strength as a 
military position; its easy commimication with 
London, nay with the sea, by means of the 
Thames; while the London fortifications hin- 
dered pirates from ascending the stream, which 
all the time was so ready and convenient for a 

Alas ! for centuries past that city has lost its 
prime honour and boast, as a servant and soldier 
of the Truth. Once named the second school of 
the Church, second only to Paris, the foster- 
mother of St. Edward, St. Richard, St. Thomas 
Cantilupe, the theatre of great intellects, of 
Scotus, the subtle Doctor, of Hales the irrefra- 
gable, of Occam the special, of Bacon the 
admirable, of Middleton the solid, and of Brad- 
wardine the profound, Oxford has now lapsed to 


that level of mere human loveliness, which in 
its highest perfection we admire in Athens. 
Nor would it have a place, now or hereafter, in 
these columns, nor would it occur to me to 
speak its name, except that, even in its sor- 
rowful deprivation, it retains just so much of 
that outward lustre, which, like the brightness 
on the prophet's face, ought to be a ray from an 
illumination within, as to afford me an illustra- 
tion of the point on which I am engaged, viz., 
what should be the material dwelling-place and 
appearance, the local circumstances, and the 
secular concomitants of a great University. 
Pictures are drawn in tales of romance, of spirits 
seemingly too beautiful in their fall to be really 
fallen, and the holy Pope at Rome, Gregory, in 
fact, and not in fiction, looked upon the blue 
eyes and golden hair of the fierce Saxon youth 
in the slave market, and pronounced them 
Angels, not Angles; and the spell which this 
once loyal daughter of the Church still exercises 
upon the foreign visitor, even now when her 
true glory is departed, suggests to us how far 
more majestic, and more touching, how brimful! 
of indescribable influence would be the presence 
of a University, which was planted witliin, not 


without, Jerusalem, — an influence, potent as her 
truth is strong, wide as her sway is world- 
wide, and growing, not lessening, by the extent 
of space over which its attraction would be 

Let the reader then listen to the words of the 
last learned German, who has treated of Oxford, 
and judge for himself if they do not bear me out, 
in what i have said of the fascination which the 
very face and smile of a University possess over 
those who come within its range. 

" There is scarce a spot in the world", says 
Huber, " that bears an historical stamp so deep 
and varied as Oxford; where so many noble 
memorials of moral and material power, coopera- 
ting to an honourable end, meet the eye all at 
once. He who can be proof against the strong 
emotions which the whole aspect and genius of 
the place tend to inspire, must be dull, thought- 
less, uneducated, or of very perverted views. 
Others will bear us witness, that, even side by 
side with the Eternal Rome, the Alma Mater of 
Oxford may be fitly named, as producing a 
deep, a lasting, and peculiar impression. 

" In one of the most fertile districts of the 
Queen of the Seas, whom nature has so richly 


blessed, whom for centuries past no footstep of 
foreign armies has desecrated, lies a broad green 
vale, where the Cherwell and the Isis mingle 
their full, clear waters. Here and there prim- 
eval elms and oaks overshadow them ; while in 
their various windings they encircle gardens, 
meadows, and fields, villages, cottages, farm- 
houses, and country-seats, in motley mixture. 
In the midst rises a mass of mighty buildings, 
the general character of which varies between 
convent, palace, and castle. Some few Gothic 
church-towers and Romaic domes, it is true, 
break through the horizontal Hues ; yet the ge- 
neral impression at a distance and at first sight, 
is essentially different from that of any of the 
towns of the middle ages. The outlines are far 
firom being so sharp, so angular, so irregular, so 
fantastical ; a certain softness, a peculiar repose, 
reigns in those broader, terrace-like rising masses. 
Only in the creations of Claude Lorraine or 
Poussin could we expect to find a spot to com- 
pare with the prevailing character of this 
picture, especially when lit up by a favourable 
light. The principal masses consist of Colleges, 
the University buildings, and the city churches ; 
and by the side of these the city itself is lost on 


distant view. But on entering the streets, we 
find around us all the signs of an active and 
prosperous trade. Rich and elegant shops in 
profusion afford a sight to be found nowhere 
but in England ; but, with all this glitter and 
show, they sink into a modest, and, as it were, 
a menial attitude, by the side of the grandly 
severe memorials of the higher intellectual life, 
memorials, which have been growing out of 
that life from almost the beginning of Chris- 
tianity itself. Those rich and elegant shops are, 
as it were, the domestic offices of these palaces 
of learning, which ever rivet the eye of the 
observer, while all besides seems perforce to be 
subservient to them. Each of the larger and 
more ancient Colleges looks like a separate 
whole — an entire town, whose walls and monu- 
ments proclaim the vigorous growth of many 
centuries; and the town itself has happily 
escaped the lot of modern beautifying, and in 
this respect harmonises with the Colleges". 

There are those who, having felt the in- 
fluence of this ancient school, and being smit 
with its splendour and its sweetness, ask wist- 
fully, if never again it is to be Catholic, or 
whether at least some footing for Catholicity 


may not be found there. All honour and merit 
to the charitable and zealous hearts who so 
inquire ! Nor can we dare to tell what in time 
to come may be the inscrutable purposes of that 
grace which is ever more comprehensive than 
human hope and aspiration. But for me, from 
the day I left its walls, I never, for good or bad, 
have had anticipation of its future ; and never 
for a moment have I had a wish to see again a 
place, which I have never ceased to love, and 
where I lived for nearly thirty years. Nay, 
looking at the general state of things at this 
day, I desiderate for a school of the Church, if 
an additional school is to be granted to us, a 
more central position than Oxford has to show. 
Since the age of Alfred and of the first Henry, 
the world has grown, from the west and south 
of Europe, into four or five continents; and I 
look for a city less inland than that old sanc- 
tuary, and a country closer upon the highway of 
the seas. I look towards a land both old and 
young; old in its Christianity, young in the 
promise of its future : a nation, which received 
grace before the Saxon came to Britain, and 
which has never quenched it: a Church, which 
comprehends in its history the rise and fall of 


Canterbury and York, whicli Augustine and 
Paulinus found, and Pole and Fisher left behind 
them. I contemplate a people which has had a 
long night, and will have an inevitable day. I 
am turning my eyes towards a hundred years to 
come, and I dimly see the island I am gazing 
on, become the road of passage and union 
between two hemispheres, and the centre of the 
world. I see its inhabitants rival Belgium in 
populousness, France in vigour, and Spain in 
enthusiasm ; and I see England taught by ad- 
vancing years to exercise in its behalf that good 
sense which is her characteristic towards every 
one else. The capital of that prosperous and 
hopeful land is situate in a beautiful bay and 
near a romantic region; and in it I see a 
flourishing University, which for a while had to 
struggle with fortune, but which, when its first 
founders and servants were dead and crone, had 
successes far exceeding their anxieties. Thither, 
as to a sacred soil, the home of their fathers, 
and the fountain-head of their Christianity, 
students are flocking from East, West, and 
South, from America and Australia and India, 
from Egypt and Asia Minor, with the ease and 
rapidity of a locomotion not yet discovered. 


and last, though not least, from England, — all 
speaking one tongue, all owning one faith, all 
eager for one large true wisdom; and thence, 
when their stay is over, going back again to 
carry peace to men of good will over all the 




However apposite may have been the digression, 
into which I was led when I had got about half 
through the foregoing chapter, it has had the in- 
convenience of what may be called running me 
off the rails; and now that I wish to proceed 
from the point at wlaich it took place, I shall find 
some trouble, if I may continue the metaphor, in 
getting up the steam again, or, if I may change 
it, in getting into the swing of my subject. 

It has been my desii'e, were I able, to bring 
before the reader what Athens may have been, 
viewed as what we have since called a Uni- 
versity ; and to do this, not with any purpose of 
writing a panegyric on a heathen city, or of 
denying its many defoimities, or of concealing 
what was morally base in what was intellectually 
great, but just the contrary, of representing 
things as they really were, so far, that is, as to 


enable him to see what a University is in the 
very constitution of society and in its own idea, 
what is its nature and object, and what it needs 
of aid and support external to itself to complete 
that nature and to secure that object. 

So now let us fancy our Scythian, or Ar- 
menian, or African, or Italian, or Gallic student, 
tossing on the waves, which would be his more 
ordinary route to Athens, and at last casting 
anchor at Pirteus. He is of any condition or 
rank of life you please, and may be made to 
order, from a prince to a peasant. Perhaps he 
is some Cleanthes, who has been a boxer in the 
public games. How did it ever cross his brain 
to betake himself to Athens in search of wis- 
dom? or, if he came thither by accident, how 
did the love of it ever touch his heart? But so 
it was, to Athens he came with three drachmas 
in his girdle, and he got his livelihood by 
drawing water, carrying loads, and the like 
servile occupations. He attached himself, of all 
philosophers, to Zeno the Stoic, — to Zeno, the 
most high-minded, the most haughty of specu- 
lators; and out of his daily earnings the poor 
scholar brought his master the daily sum of an 
obolus in payment for attending his lectures. 


Such progress did lie make, that on Zeno's 
deatli he actually was liis successor in liis school ; 
and, if my memory does not play me false, he is 
the author of a Hymn to the Svipreme Being, 
which is one of the noblest effusions of the kind 
in classical poetry. Yet, even when he was the 
head of a school, he continued in his illiberal 
toil as if he had been a monk ; and, it is said, 
that once, when the wind took his pallium, and 
blew it aside, he was discovered to have no other 
garment at all; — something like the German 
student who came up to Heidelberg with no- 
thing upon him but a great coat and a pair of 

Or it is another disciple of the Porch, — I 
mean, it is one who one day will be such, — who 
is entering the city ; but in what different fashion 
he comes ! It is no other than Marcus, the 
adopted son of Titus Aurelius, Emperor of 
Rome, and himself in course of time both Em- 
peror and Philosopher. He comes with Verus, 
his future colleague; the public carriages have 
been put at his command all along his line of 
road, and the opulent Professors of the city crowd 
to receive him with the honours of his rank. 

Or it is a young man of great promise as an 


Orator, were it not for his weakness of chest, 
which renders it necessary that lie shoukl acquire 
the art of speaking without over-exertion, and 
should adopt a delivery sufficient for the display 
of his rhetorical talents on the one hand, yet 
merciful to his physical resources on the other. 
He is called Cieero; he will stop but a short 
time,^ and will pass over to Asia Minor and its 
cities, before he returns to continue a career 
which will render his name immortal; and he 
will like his short sojourn at Athens so well, 
that he will take good care to send his son 
thither at an earlier age than he visited it 

But see where comes from Alexandria (for we 
need not be very solicitous about anachronisms), 
a young man from twenty to twenty-two, who 
has narrowly escaped drowning on his voyage, 
and is to remain at Athens as many as eight or 
ten years, yet in the course of that time will 
not learn a line of Latin, thinking it enough to 
become accomplished in Greek composition, — 
and in that he will succeed. He is a grave 
person, and difficult to make out; some say he 
is a Christian, something or other in the Chris- 
tian line his father is for certain. He is called 



Gregory, by country a Cappadocian, and will in 
time become preeminently a theologian, and one 
of the principal Doctors of the Greek Church. 

Or it is one Horace, a youth of low stature 
and black hair, whose father has given him an 
education at Rome above his rank in life, and 
now is sending him to finish it at Athens ; he is 
said to have a turn for poetry : a hero he is not, 
and it were well if he knew it ; but he is caught 
by the enthusiasm of the hour, and goes oif 
campaigning with Brutus and Cassius, and will 
leave his shield behind him on the field of 

Or it is a mere boy of fifteen: his name is 
Eunapius ; though the voyage was not long, sea 
sickness, or confinement, or bad living on board 
the vessel, threw him into a fever, and, when 
the passengers landed in the evening at Pirseus, 
he could not stand. His countrymen who ac- 
companied him, took hirn up among them and 
carried him to the house of the great teacher of 
the day, Proairesius, who was a friend of the 
captain's, and whose fame it was which drew the 
enthusiastic youth to Athens. His companions 
understand the sort of place they are in, and, 
with the licence of academic students, they 


break into the pliilosoplier's house, though he 
appears to have retired for the night, and pro- 
ceed to make themselves free of it, with an 
absence of ceremony, which is only not impu- 
dence, because Proseresius takes it so easily. 
Strange introduction for our stranger to a seat of 
learning, but not out of keeping with Athens; 
for what could you expect of a place where 
there was a mob of youths and not even the 
pretence of control ; where the poorer lived any 
how, and got on as they could, and the teachers 
themselves had no protection from the humours 
and caprices of the students who filled their 
lecture-halls? However, as to this Eunapius, 
Pro^resius took a fancy to the boy, and told 
him curious stories about Athenian life. He 
himself had come up to the University with one 
Hepha^stion, and they were even worse off than 
Cleanthes the Stoic; for they had only one 
cloak between them, and nothing whatever 
besides, except some old bedding; so when 
Proajresius went abroad, Hephajstion lay in bed, 
and practised himself in oratory ; and then He- 
phaistion put on the cloak, and Proasresius took 
his turn in the bedding. At another time there 
was so fierce a feud between what would be 


called " town and gown" in an English Univer- 
sity, that the Professors did not dare lecture in 
public, for fear of ill treatment. 

But a freshman like Eunapiiis soon got ex- 
perience for himself of the ways and manners 
prevalent in Athens. Hardly had such a one 
as he entered the city, when he was caught hold 
of by a party of the academic youth, who pro- 
ceeded to practise on his awkwardness and his 
ignorance. At first sight one wonders at their 
childishness; but the like conduct obtained in 
the medieval Universities ; and not many months 
have passed away since the journals have told 
us of sober Englishmen, given to matter-of-fact 
calculations, and to the anxieties of money- 
making, pelting each other with snow-balls on 
their own sacred territory, and defying the 
magistracy, when they would interfere with their 
privilege of becoming boys. So I suppose we 
must attribute it to something or other in human 
nature. Meanwhile, there stands the new-comer, 
surrounded by a circle of his new associates, 
who forthwith proceed to frighten, and to 
banter, and to make a fool of him, to the extent 
of their wit. Some address him with mock 
politeness, others with fierceness; and so they 


conduct him in solemn procession across the 
Agora to the Baths ; and as they approach, they 
dance about him like madmen. But this was to 
be the end of his trial, for the Bath was a sort 
of initiation ; he thereupon received the pallium, 
or University gown, and was suffered by his 
tormentors to depart in peace. One alone is 
recorded as having been exempted from this 
persecution; it was a youth graver and loftier 
than even St. Gregory himself: but it was not 
from his force of character, but at the instance 
of Gregory, that he escaped. Gregoiy was his 
bosom-friend, and was ready in Athens to shelter 
him when he came. It was another Saint and 
another Doctor ; the great Basil, then, — it would 
appear, as Gregory, but a catechumen of the 

But to return to our freshman. His troubles 
are not at an end, though he has got his gown 
upon him. Wliere is he to lodge? whom is he 
to attend? He finds himself seized, before he 
well knows where he is, by another party, or 
three ox four parties at once, like foreign porters 
at a landing, who seize on the baggage of the 
perplexed stranger, and thrust half a dozen 
cards into his unwilling hands. Our youth is 


plied by the hangers-on of professor this, or 
sophist that, each of whom wishes the fame or 
the profit of having a housefuU. We will say 
that he escapes from their hands, — but then he 
will have to choose for himself where he will 
put up ; and, to tell the truth, with all the praise 
I have already given, and the praise I shall have 
to give, to the city of mind, nevertheless, be- 
tween ourselves, the brick and wood which 
formed it, the actual tenements, where flesh and 
blood had to lodge (always excepting the man- 
sions of the great men of the place), do not 
seem to have been much better than those 
Greek or Turkish towns, which are at this 
moment a topic of interest and ridicule in the 
public prints. A lively picture has lately been 
set before us of Gallipoli. Take, says the 
writer,* a multitude of the dilapidated outhouses 
found in farm-yards in England, of the rickety 
old wooden tenements, the cracked, shutterless 
structures of planks and tiles, the sheds and 
stalls, which our bye lanes, or fish-markets, or 
river-sides can supply; tumble them down on 
the declivity of a bare bald hill ; let the spaces 

* Mr. Eussell's Letters in the Times newspaper. 


between house and house, thus accidentally de- 
termined, be understood to form streets, winding 
of course for no reason, and with no meaning, 
up and down the town; the roadway always 
narrow, the breadth never uniform, the separate 
houses bulging or retiring below, as circum- 
stances may have determined, and leaning for- 
ward till they meet overhead ; — and you have a 
good idea of Gallipoli. I question whether this 
picture would not nearly correspond to the spe- 
cial seat of the muses in ancient times. Learned 
writers assure us distinctly that the houses of 
Athens were for the most part small and mean ; 
that the streets were crooked and narrow; that 
the upper stories projected over the roadway; 
and that staircases, balustrades, and doors that 
opened outwards, obstructed it; — a remarkable 
coincidence of description. I do not doubt at 
all, though history is silent, that that roadway 
was jolting to carriages, and all but impassable; 
and that it was traversed by drains, as freely as 
any Turkish town now. Athens seems in these 
respects to have been below the average cities of 
its time. " A stranger", says an ancient, " might 
doubt, on the sudden view, if really he saw 


I grant all tbis, and mncli more, if you will; 
but, recollect, Athens was tlie home of the in- 
tellectual and beautiful; not of low mechanical 
contrivances, and material organization. Why- 
stop within your lodging, counting the rents in 
your wall or the holes in your tiling, when 
nature and art call you away ? You will find just 
such a chamber, and a table, and a stool, and a 
sleeping board, any where else in the three con- 
tinents ; one place does not differ from another 
indoors; your magalia in Africa, or your grottos 
in Syria are not perfection. I suppose you did 
not come to Athens to swarm up a ladder, or to 
grope about a closet: you came to see and to 
hear, what hear and see you could not elsewhere. 
What food for the intellect is a procurable article 
indoors, that you stay there looking about you? 
do you think to read there? where are your 
books? do you expect to purchase books at 
Athens? — you are much out in your calcula- 
tions. True it is, we at this day, who live in the 
nineteenth century, have the books of Greece as 
a perpetual memorial; and copies there have 
been, since the time that they were written; 
but you need not go to Athens to procure them, 
nor would you find them in Athens. Strange 


to say, strange to the nineteenth century, that 
in the age of Plato and Thucydides, there was 
not, it is said, a bookshop in the whole place : 
nor was the book trade in existence till the very 
time of Augustus. Libraries, I suspect, were 
the bright invention of Attalus or the Ptole- 
mies;* I doubt whether Athens had a library 
till the reign of Hadrian. It was what the 
student gazed on, what he heard, what he 
caught by the magic of sympathy, not what he 
read, which was the education furnished by 

He leaves his narrow lodging early in the 
morning ; and not till night, if even then, will 
he return. It is but a crib or kennel, — in which 
he sleeps when the weather is inclement or the 
ground damp ; in no respect a home. And he 
goes out of doors, not to read the day's news- 
paper, or to buy the gay shilling volume, but to 
imbibe the invisible atmosphere of genius, and 
to learn by heart the oral traditions of taste. 
Out he goes; and, leaving the tumble-down 

* I do not go into controversy on the subject, for which 
the reader must have recourse to Lipsius, Morhof, Boeckh, 
Bekker, etc. ; and tliis of course appUes to whatever histo- 
rical matter I introduce, or shall introduce. 


town behind hira, he mounts the Acropolis to 
the right, or he turns to the Areopagus on the 
left. He goes to the Parthenon to study the 
sculptures of Phidias ; to the temple of the Dios- 
curi to see the paintings of Polygnotus. We 
indeed take our Sophocles or ^schylus out of 
our coat-pocket ; but, if our sojourner at Athena 
would understand how a tragic poet can write, 
he must betake himself to the theatre on the 
south, and see and hear the drama Hterally in 
action. Or let him go westward to the Agora, 
and there he will hear Lysias or Andocides 
pleading, or Demosthenes haranguing. He 
goes farther west still, along the shade of those 
noble planes, which Cimon has planted there ; 
and he looks around him at the statues and por- 
ticos and vestibules, each by itself a work of 
genius and skill, enough to be the making of 
another city. He passes through the city gate, 
and then he is at the famous Ceramicus ; here 
are the tombs of the mighty dead ; and here, we 
will suppose, is Pericles himself, the most eleva- 
ted, the most thrilling of orators, converting a 
funeral oration over the slain into a philosophical 
panegyric of the living. 

Onwards he proceeds still ; and now he has 


come to that still more celebrated Academe, 
wliicli has bestowed its own name on Univer- 
sities down to this day; and there he sees a 
sight which will be graven on his memory till 
he dies. Many are the beauties of the place, 
the groves, and the statues, and the temple, and 
the stream of the Cephissus flowing by ; many 
are the lessons which will be taught him day 
after day by teacher or by companion ; but his 
eye is just now arrested by one object ; it is the 
very presence of Plato. He does not hear a 
word that he says; he does not care to hear; he 
asks neither for discourse nor disputation; what 
he sees is a whole, complete in itself, not to be 
increased by addition, and greater than any- 
thing else. It will be a point in the history of 
his life ; a stay for his mind to rest on, a burning 
thought in his heart, a bond of union with men 
like himself, ever afterwards. Such is the spell 
which the living man exerts on his fellows, for 
good or for evil. How nature impels us to 
lean upon others, making virtue, or genius, or 
name, the qualification for our doing so ! A 
Spaniard is said to have travelled to Italy, 
simply to see Livy; he had his fill of gazing, 
and then went back again home. Had our 


young stranger got nothing by his voyage but 
the sight of the breathing and moving Plato, 
had he entered no lecture-room to hear, no 
gymnasium to converse, he had got some mea- 
sure of education, and something to tell of to his 

But Plato is not the only sage, nor the sight of 
him the only lesson to be learned in this won- 
derful suburb. It is the region and the realm 
of philosophy. Colleges were the inventions of 
many centuries later ; and they imply a sort of 
cloistered life, or at least a more than Athenian 
observance of rule. It was the boast of the phi- 
losophic statesman of Athens, that his country- 
men achieved by the mere force of nature and 
the love of the noble and the great, what other 
people aimed at by laborious discipline ; and all 
who came among them were submitted to the 
same method of education. We have traced 
our student on his wanderings from the Acro- 
polis to the Sacred Way ; and now he is in the 
region of the schools. No awful arch, no 
window of many-coloured lights marks the 
several seats of learning ; philosophy lives out of 
doors. No close atmosphere oppresses the brain 
or inflames the eyelid; no long session stiffens 


the limbs. Epicurus is reclining in his garden ; 
Zeno looks like a divinity in his porch; the 
restless Aristotle, on the other side of the city, 
as if in antagonism to Plato, is walking his 
pupils off their legs in his Lyceum by the 
Illyssus. Our student has determined on en- 
tering himself as a disciple of Theophrastus, a 
teacher of marvellous popularity, who has 
brought together two thousand pupils from all 
parts of the world. He himself is of Lesbos; 
for masters, as well as students, come hither from 
all regions of the earth, — as befits a University. 
How could Athens have collected hearers in 
such numbers, unless she had selected teachers 
of such power? it was the range of terri- 
tory, which the notion of a University implies, 
which furnished both the quantity of the one, 
and the quality of the other. Anaxagoras was 
from Ionia, Carneades from Africa, Zeno from 
Cyprus, Protagoras from Thrace, and Gorgias 
from Sicily. Andromachus was a Syrian, Proai- 
resius an Armenian, Hilarius a Bithynian, 
Philiscus a Thessalian, Hadrian a Syrian. Rome 
is celebrated for her liberality in civil matters; 
Athens was as liberal in intellectual. There 
was no narrow jealousy, directed against a Pro- 



fessor, because lie was not an Athenian ; genius 
and talent were the qualifications ; and to bring 
them to Athens, was to do homage to it as a 
University. There was a brotherhood and a 
citizenship of mind. 

Mind came first, and was the foundation of 
the academical polity ; but it soon brought along 
with it, and gathered round itself, the gifts of 
fortune and the prizes of life. As time went 
on, wisdom was not always sentenced to the 
bare cloak of Cleanthes ; but, beginning in rags, 
it ended in fine linen. The Professors became 
honourable and rich; and the students ranged 
tliemselves under their names, and were proud 
of calling themselves their countrymen. The 
University was divided into four great nations, 
as the medieval antiquarian would style lliem ; 
and in the middle of the fourth century, Proasre- 
sius was the leader or proctor of the Attic, He- 
phajstion of the Oriental, Epiphanius of the 
Arabic, and Diophantus of the Pontic. Thus 
the Professors were the patrons of clients, and 
the hosts and proxeni of strangers and visitors, as 
well as the masters of the schools: and the 
Syrian or Sicilian youth who came to one or 
other of them, would be encouraged to study by 


his protection, and incited to aspire by his ex- 

Even Plato, when the schools of Athens were 
not a hundred years old, was in circumstances to 
enjoy the otium cum dignitate. He had a villa 
out at Heraclea ; and he left his patrimony to his 
school, in whose hands it remained, not only 
safe, but fructifying, a marvellous phenomenon 
in tumultuous Greece, for the long space of 
eight hundred years. Epicurus too had the 
property of the Gardens where he lectured ; and 
these too became the property of his sect. But 
in Roman times the chairs of grammar, rhetoric, 
politics, and the four philosophies, were hand- 
somely endowed by the State; some of the 
Professors were themselves statesmen or high 
functionaries, and brought to their favourite 
study senatorial rank or Asiatic opulence. 

Patrons such as these can compensate to the 
freshman, in whom we have interested ourselves, 
for the poorness of his lodging and the turbu- 
lence of his companions. In every thing there 
is a better side and a worse ; in every place a 
disreputable set and a respectable, and the one 
is hardly known at all to the other. Men come 
away from the same University at this day. 


with contradictory impressions and contradictory 
statements, according to the society they have 
found there; if you believe the one, nothing 
goes on there as it should do; if you believe 
the other, nothing goes on as it should not. 
Virtue, however, and decency are at least in 
the minority every where, and vmder some sort 
of a cloud or disadvantage ; and this being the 
case, it is so much gain whenever an Herodes 
Atticus is found, to throw the influence of 
wealth and station on the side even of a deco- 
rous philosophy. A consular man, and the 
heir of an ample fortime, this Herod was 
content to devote his powers to a professorship, 
and his fortunes to the patronage of literature. 
He gave the sophist Polemo about eight thou- 
sand pounds, as the sum is calculated, for three 
declamations. He built at Athens a stadium six 
hundred feet long, entirely of white marble, and 
capable of admitting the whole population. 
His theatre, erected to the memory of his wife, 
was made of cedar wood curiously carved. He 
had two villas, one at Marathon, the place of his 
birth, about ten miles from Athens, the other at 
Cephissia, at the distance of six ; and thither he 
drew to him the 4lite, and at times the whole 


body of the students. Long arcades, groves of 
trees, clear pools for the bath, delighted and 
recruited the summer visitor. Never was so 
brilliant a lecture-room as his evening ban- 
queting-hall ; highly connected students from 
Rome mixed with the sharp-witted Provincial 
of Greece or Asia Minor; and the flippant 
sciolist, and the nondescript visitor, half philo- 
sopher, half tramp, met with a reception, cour- 
teous always, but suitable to their deserts. Herod 
was noted for his repartees; and we have in- 
stances on record of his setting down, according 
to the emergency, both the one and the other. 

A higher line, though a rarer one, was that 
allotted to the youthful Basil. He was one of 
those men who seem by a sort of fascination to 
draw others around them even without wishing 
it One might have deemed that his gravity 
and his reserve would have kept them at a 
distance; but, almost in spite of himself, he 
was the centre of a knot of youths, who, pagans 
as most of them were, used Athens honestly for 
the purpose for which they professed to seek it; 
and, disappointed and displeased with the place 
himself, he seems nevertheless to have been the 
means of their profiting by its advantages. One 


of these was Sophronlus, who afterwards held a 
high office in the state ; Eusebius was another, 
at that time the bosom-friend of Sophronius, 
and afterwards a Bishop. Celsus too is named, 
who afterwards was raised to the government of 
Cilicia by the Emperor Julian. Julian himself, 
in the sequel of unhappy memory, was then at 
Athens, and known at least to St. Gregory. 
Another Julian is also mentioned, who was 
afterwards commissioner of the land tax. Here 
we have a glimpse of the better kind of society 
among the students of Athens ; and it is to the 
credit of the parties composing it, that such 
young men as Gregory and Basil, men as in- 
timately connected with Christianity, as they 
were well known in the world, should hold 
so high a place in their esteem and love. 
When the two saints were departing, their com- 
panions came around them with the hope of 
changing their purpose. Basil persevered ; but 
Gregory relented, and turned back to Athens 
for a time. 




When tlie Catholic University is mentioned, 
we hear people saying on all sides of us, — " Im- 
possible ! how can you give degrees ? what will 
your degrees be worth? where are your endow- 
ments ? where are your edifices ? where will you 
find students? what will government have to 
say to you? who wants you? who will ac- 
knowledge you ? what do you expect ? what is 
left for you?" 

Now, I hope I may say without offence, that 
this surprise on the part of so many excellent 
men, is itself not a little surprising. Wlien I 
look around at what the Catholic Church now is 
in this country of Ireland, and am told what it 
was twenty or thirty years ago ; when I see the 
hundreds of good works, which in that interval 
have been done, and now stand as monuments 
of the zeal and charity of the living and the 
dead; when I find that in those years new 


relicfious orders have been introduced, and that 
the country is now covered with convents ; when 
I gaze upon the sacred edifices, spacious and 
fair, which during that time have been built out 
of the pence of the poor ; when I reckon up the 
multitude of schools now at work, and the sacri- 
fices which gave them birth; when I reflect 
upon the great political exertions and successes 
which have made the same period memorable 
in all history to come ; when I contrast what was 
then almost a nation of bondsmen, with the 
intelligence, and freedom of thought, and hope 
for the future, which is its present characteristic ; 
when I meditate on the wonderful sight of a 
people springing again fresh and vigorous from 
the sepulchre of famine and pestilence; and 
when I consider that those bonds of death 
which they have burst, are but the specimen and 
image of the adamantine obstacles, political, 
social, and municipal, which have all along 
stood in the way of their triumphs, and how 
they have been carried on to victory by the 
simple energy of a courageous faith ; it sets me 
marvelhng to find some of those veiy men, who 
have been heroically achieving impossibilities all 
their lives long, now beginning to scruple about 



adding one little sneaking impossibility to the 
list, and I feel it to be a great escape for the 
Church that they did not insert the word " im- 
possible" into their dictionaries and encyclo- 
pedias at a somewhat earlier date. 

However, this by the way : as to the objec- 
tion itself, which has led to this not unnatural 
reflection, perhaps the reader may already have 
observed, if he has taken the ^trouble to follow 
me, that in former papers I have already been 
covertly aiming at it; and now I propose to 
handle it avowedly, at least as far as my limits 
will allow in one chapter. 

He will recollect, perhaps, that in former 
papers I have already been maintaining, that a 
University consists, and has ever consisted, in 
demand and supply, in wants which it alone can 
satisfy and which it does satisfy, in the commu- 
nication of knowledge, and the relation and 
bond which exists between the teacher and the 
taught. Its constituting, animating principle is 
this moral attraction of one class of persons to 
another; which is prior in its nature, nay com- 
monly in its history, to any other tie whatever ; 
so that, where this is wanting, a University is 
alive only in name, and has lost its true essence, 


whatever "be the acJvantages, whether of position 
or of affluence, with which the civil power or 
private benefactors contrive to encircle it. I am 
far indeed from undervaluing those external ad- 
vantages ; a certain share of them is necessary 
to its well-being : but on the whole, as it is with 
the individual, so will it be with the body: — it 
is talents and attainments which command suc- 
cess. Consideration, dignity, wealth, and power, 
are all very proper things in the territory of 
literature ; but they ought to know their place ; 
they come second, not first; they must not 
presume, or make too much of themselves ; or 
they had better be away. First intellect, then 
secular advantages, as its instruments and as its 
rewards; I say no more than this, but I say 
no less. 

Nor am I denying, as I shall directly show, 
that, under any circumstances, professors will 
ordinarily lecture, and students ordinarily attend 
them, with a view, in some shape or other, to 
secular advantage. Certainly ; few persons pur- 
sue knowledge simply for its own sake. But 
still, remuneration of some sort, both to the 
teachers and to the taught, may be inseparable 
from the fact of a University, and I tliink it is. 


Much less am I forgetting (to view the subject 
on another side), that intellect is helpless, because 
ungovernable and self-destructive, unless it be 
regulated by a moral rule and by revealed truth. 
Nor am I saying anything in disparagement of 
the principle, that establishments of literature 
and science should be in subordination to eccle- 
siastical authority. 

I would not make light of any of these 
considerations ; some I shall even assume at once, 
as necessary for my purpose; of some I shall 
say more hereafter ; here, however, I am merely 
suggesting to the reader's better judgment what 
constitutes a University, what is just enough to 
constitute it, or what a University consists in, 
viewed in its essence. What this is, seems to 
me most simply explained and ascertained, as I 
noticed in a former number, by the instance of 
metropolitan cities. It would appear as if the 
very same kind of needs, social and moral, which 
give rise to metropolitan cities, give rise also to 
Universities; nay, that every metropoHs is a 
University, as far as the rudiments of a Univer- 
sity are concerned. Youths come up tliither 
from all parts: in order to better themselves 
generally; — not as if they necessarily looked 


for degrees in their own several pursuits, and 
degrees recognized by the law ; not as if there 
were to be any concursus for fellowships in 
chemistry, for instance, or engineering, — but 
they come to gain that instruction which will 
turn most to their account in after life, and to 
form good and serviceable connexions, and that, 
as regards the fine arts, literature, and science, 
as well as in trade and the professions. I do not 
see why it should be more difficult for Ireland 
to trade, if I may use the term, upon the field 
of knowledge, than for the inhabitants of San 
Francisco or of jMelbourne to make a fortune by 
their gold fields, or for the North of England 
by its coal. If gold is power, wealth, influence; 
and if coal is power, wealth, inixflence; so is 


" When house and lands are gone and spent, 
Then learning is most excellent" ; 

and, as some men go to the Antipodes for the 
gold, so others will come to us here for the 
knowledge. And it is as reasonable to expect 
students, though we have no charter from the 
State, provided we hold out the inducement of 
good teachers, as to expect a crowd of Britishers, 


Yankees, Spaniards, and Chinamen at the dig- 
gings, though there are no degrees for the 
successful use of the pickaxe, sieve, and shovel. 

And history, I think, corroborates this view 
of the matter. In all times there have been Uni- 
versities; and in all times they have flourished 
by means of this profession of teaching and this 
desire of learning. They have needed nothing 
else but this for their existence. There has been 
a demand, and there has been a supply ; and 
there has been the supply necessarily before the 
demand, though not before the need. This is 
how the University, in every age, has made 
progress. Teachers have set up their tent, and 
opened their school, and students and disciples 
have flocked around them, in spite of the want 
of every advantage, or even of the presence of 
every conceivable discouragement. Years, nay, 
centuries perhaps, passed along of discomfort 
and disorder: and these, though they showed 
plainly enough that, for the well-being and per- 
fection of a University, something more than 
the desire for knowledge is required, yet they 
showed also hoAV irrepressible was that desire, 
how reviviscent, how indestructible, how ade- 
quate to the duties of a vital principle, in the 


midst of enemies witliin and without, amid 
plague, famine, destitution, war, dissension, and 
tyranny, evils physical and social, which would 
have been fatal to any other but a really natural 
principle naturally developed. 

Do not let the reader suppose, however, that 
I am anticipating for Dublin at this day such 
dreary periods or such ruinous commotions, as 
befel the schools of the medieval period. Such 
miseries were the accident of the times; and 
this is why we hear so much then of protectors 
of learning — the Charlemagnes and Alfreds, — as 
the compensation of those miseries. It may be 
asked, whether such protectors do not tell against 
the inherent vitality, on which I have been in- 
sisting, of Universities; but in truth, powerfid 
sovereigns, like them, did but clear and keep 
the ground, on which Universities were to buHd. 
Learning in the middle ages had great foes and 
great friends; we too, were we setting up a 
school of learning in a rude period of society, 
should have to expect perils on the one hand, 
and to court protectors on the other; as it is, 
however, we can afford to treat with compara- 
tive unconcern the prospect both of the one and 
of the other. We may hope, and we may be 


content, to be just let alone; or, if we must be 
anxious about the future, we may reasonably use 
the words of the proverb, " Save me from my 
friends". Charlemagne was indeed a patron of 
learning, but he was a protector far more ; it is 
our happiness, for which we cannot be too 
thankful to the Author of all good, to need no 
protector; for it is our privilege just now, what- 
ever comes of the morrow, to live in the midst 
of a civilization, the like of which the world 
never saw before. The descent of enemies on 
our coasts, the forays of indigenous marauders, 
the sudden rise of town mobs, the unbridled 
cruelty of rulers, the resistless sweep of pesti- 
lence, the utter insecurity of life and property, 
and the recklessness which is its consequence, all 
that deforms the annals of the medieval Univer- 
sities, is to us for the present but a matter of 
history. The statesman, the lawyer, the soldier, 
the policeman, the sanitary reformer, the econo- 
mist, have seriously wronged and afflicted us in 
other ways, national, social, and religious ; but, 
on the side on which I have here to view them, 
they are acting in our behalf as a blessing from 
heaven. They are giving us that tranquillity 
for which the Church so variously and so 


anxiously prays ; that real freedom, Tvhicli enables 
us to consult her interests, to edify her holy 
house, to adorn her sanctuary, to perfect her 
discipline, to inculcate her doctrines, and to 
enlighten and form her children, " with all 
confidence", as Scripture speaks, "without pro- 
hibition". We are able to set up a Studium 
Generale, without its concomitant dangers and 
inconveniences; and the history of the past, 
while it adumbrates for us the pattern of a Uni- 
versity, and supplies us with a specimen of its 
good fi-uits, conveys to us no presage of the 
recurrence of those melancholy conflicts, in 
which the cultivated intellect was in those times 
engaged, sometimes with brute force, and some- 
times, alas ! with revealed religion. 

Charlemagne then was necessary, but not so 
much for the University, as against its enemies ; 
he was confessedly a patron of letters, effectual 
as well as munificent, but he could not any how 
have dispensed with his celebrated professors, 
and they, as the history of literature, both before 
and after him, shows, could probably have 
dispensed with him. Whether we turn to the 
ancient world or the modern, in either case we 
have evidence in behalf of this position: we 


have the spectacle of the thirst of knowledge 
acting for and by itself, and making its own way. 
Here I shall confine myself to ancient history : 
both in Athens and in Rome, we find it pushing 
forward, in independence of the civil power. 
The professors of literature seated themselves in 
Athens without the favour of the government; 
and they opened their mission in Rome in spite 
of its state traditions. It was the rising genera- 
tion, it was the mind of youth unfettered by the 
conventional ideas of the ruling politics, which 
in either case became their followers. The ex- 
citement they created in Athens is described by 
Plato in one of his Dialogues, and has often 
been quoted. Protagoras came to the bright 
city with the profession of teaching " the poli- 
tical art" ; and the young flocked around him. 
They flocked to him, be it observed, not because 
he promised them entertainment or novelty, 
such as the theatre might promise, and a people 
proverbially fickle and curious might exact ; nor, 
on the other hand, had he any definite recom- 
pense to hold out, — a degree, for instance, or a 
snug fellowship, or an India writership, or a 
place in the civil service. He oflTered them just 
the sort of inducement, which carries off a man 


now to a conveyancer, or a medical practitioner, 
or an engineer, — he engaged to prepare them for 
the Hne of life which they had chosen as their 
own, and to prepare them better than Hippias 
or Prodicus, who were at Athens with him. 
Whether he was really able to do this, is another 
thing altogether; or rather it makes the argu- 
ment stronger, if he were unable; for, if the 
very promise of knowledge was so potent a spell, 
what would have been its real possession ? 

But now let us hear the state of the case from 
the mouth of Hippocrates himself, — the youth, 
who in his eagerness woke Socrates, himself 
a young man at the time, while it was yet 
dark, to tell him that Protagoras was come to 
Athens. " When we had supped, and were 
going to bed",* he says, " then my brother told 
me that Protagoras was arrived, and my first 
thought was to come and see you immediately ; 
but afterwards it appeared to me too late at 
night. As soon, however, as sleep had refreshed 
me, up I got, and came here". " And I", con- 
tinues Socrates, giving an account of the con- 
versation, "knowing his earnestness and excita- 

* Carey's translation is followed almost literally. 



bility , said : ' Wliat is that to you ? does Prota- 
goras do you any harm ?' He laughed and said : 
' That he does, Socrates ; because he alone is 
wise, and does not make me so'. ' Nay', said I, 
' do you give him money enough, and he will 
make you wise too'. ' O Jupiter and ye gods', 
he made answer, ' that it depended upon that ! 
for I would spare nothing of my own, or of 
my friends' property either; and I have now 
come to you for this very purpose, to get you to 
speak to him in my behalf For, besides that I 
am too young, I have never yet seen Prota- 
goras, or heard him speak ; for I was but a boy 
when he came before. However, all praise him, 
Socrates, and say that he has the greatest skill 
in speaking. But why do we not go to him, 
that we may find him at home ?' " 

They went on talking till the light ; and then 
they set out for the house of Callias, where 
Protagoras, with others of his own calling, was 
lodged. There they found him pacing up and 
down the portico, with his host and others, 
among whom, on one side of him, was a son 
of Pericles (his father being at this time in 
power), while another son of Pericles, with an- 
other party, was on the other. A party followed, 


chiefly of foreigners, -whom Protagoras had 
" bewitched, like Orpheus, by his voice". On 
the opposite side of the portico sat Hippias, 
with a bench of youths before him, asking him 
questions in physics and astronomy. Prodicus 
was still in bed, with some listeners on sofas 
round him. The house is described as quite full 
of guests. Such is the sketch given us of this 
school of Athens, as there represented. I do not 
enter on the question, as I have already said, 
whether the doctrine of these Sophists, as they 
are called, was true or false; more than very 
partially true it could not be, whether in morals 
or in physics, from the circumstances of the age ; 
it is sufficient that it powerfully interested the 
hearers. We see what it was that filled the 
Athenian lecture-halls and porticos; not the 
fashion of the day, not the patronage of the 
great, not pecuniary prizes, but the reputation of 
talent and the desire of knowledge, — ambition, 
if you will, personal attachment, but not an 
influence, political or other, external to the 
School. " Such Sophists", says Mr. Grote, re- 
ferring to the passage in Plato, " had nothing to 
recommend them except superior knowledge and 
intellectual fame, combined with an imposing 


personality, making itself felt in tlie lectures 
and conversation". 

So much for Athens, where Protagoras had at 
least this advantage, that Pericles was his private 
friend, if he was not publicly his patron; but 
now when we turn to Rome, in what is almost a 
parallel page in her history, we shall find that 
literature, or at least philosophy, had to en- 
counter there the direct opposition of the ruling 
party in the state, and of the hereditary and 
popular sentiment. The story goes, that when 
the Greek treatises which Numa had had buried 
with him, were accidentally brought to light, 
the Romans had burned them, from the dread of 
such knowledge coming into fashion. At a 
later date decrees passed the Senate for the ex- 
pulsion from the city, first of philosophers, then 
of rhetoricians, who were gaining the attention 
of the rising generation. A second decree was 
passed some time afterwards to the same effect, 
assigning, in its vindication, the danger, which 
existed, of young men losing, by means of 
these new studies, their taste for the military 

Such was the nascent conflict between the old 
rule and policy of Rome, and the awakening in- 


tellect, at the time of that celebrated embassy of 
the three philosophers, Diogenes the Stoic, Car- 
neades the Academic, and Critolaus the Peripa- 
tetic, sent to Rome from Athens on a political 
affair. Whether they were as skilful in diplo- 
macy as they were zealous in their own particu- 
lar line, need not here be determined ; any how, 
they lengthened out their stay at Rome, and em- 
ployed themselves in giving lectures. " Those 
among the youth", says Plutarch, "who had a 
taste for literature went to them, and became 
their constant and enthusiastic hearers. Espe- 
cially, the graceful eloquence of Carneades, 
which had a reputation equal to its talent, se- 
cured large and favourable audiences, and was 
noised about the city. It was reported that a 
Greek, with a perfectly astounding power both 
of interesting and of commanding the feelings, 
was kindling in the youth a most ardent emotion, 
which possessed them, to the neglect of their or- 
dinary indulgences and amusements, with a sort 
of rage for philosophy". Upon this, Cato took 
up the matter upon the traditionary ground ; he 
represented that the civil and military interests 
of Rome were sure to suffer, if such tastes be- 
came popular ; and he exerted himself with such 


effect, that the three philosophers were sent off 
with the least possible delay, "to return home to 
their own schools, and in future to confine theil" 
lessons to Greek boys, leaving the youth of 
Rome, as heretofore, to listen to the magistrates 
and the laws". The pressure of the government 
was successful at the moment; but ultimately 
the cause of education prevailed. Schools were 
gradually founded; first of grammar, in the 
large sense of the word, then of rhetoric, then 
of mathematics, then of philosophy, and then of 
medicine, though the order of their introduction, 
one with another, is not altogether clear. At 
length the emperors secured the interests of 
letters by an establishment, which has lasted to 
this day in the Roman University, now called 

Here are two striking instances in very dif- 
ferent countries, to prove that it is the thirst for 
knowledge, and not the patronage of the great, 
which carries on the cause of literature and 
science to its ultimate victory ; and all that can 
be said against them is, that I have gone back a 
great way to find them. But a general truth is 
made up of particular instances, whicli cannot 
be brought forward all at once, nor crowded 


into half a dozen pages of a work like this. I 
shall continue the subject some future time; 
meanwhile I will but observe that, while these 
ancient instances teach us that a University is 
founded on principles sui generis and proper to 
itself, so do they coincidently suggest that it 
may boldly appeal to those principles before 
they are yet brought into exercise, and may, 
or rather must, take the initiative in its own 
success. It must be set up before it can be 
sought ; and it must offer a supply, in order to 
create a demand. Protagoras and Cameades 
needed nothing more than to advertise them- 
selves in order to gain disciples; if we have a 
confidence that we have that to offer to Irish- 
men, to Catholics, which is good and great, and 
which at present they have not, our success may 
be tedious and slow in coming, but ultimately it 
must come. 

Therefore, I say, let us set up our University ; 
let us only set it up, and it will teach the world 
its value by the fact of its existence. What 
ventures are made, what risks incurred by 
private persons in matters of trade! What 
speculations are entered on in the departments of 
building or engineering ! What boldness in 


innovation or improvement has been manifested 
by statesmen during the last twenty years! 
Mercantile undertakings indeed may be ill- 
advised, and political measures may be cen- 
surable in themselves, or fatal in their results. I 
am not considering them here in their motive or 
their object, in their expedience or their justice, 
but in the manner in which they have been car- 
ried out. What largeness then of view, what in- 
trepidity, vigour, and resolution are implied in 
the Reform Bill, in the Emancipation of the 
Blacks, in the finance changes, in the Useful 
Knowledge movement, in the organization of the 
Free Kirk, in the introduction of the penny post- 
age, and in the railroads ! This is an age, if not 
of great men, at least of great works ; are Catho- 
lics alone to refuse to act on faith ? England has 
faith in her skill, in her determination, in her 
resources in war, in the genius of her people ; is 
Ireland alone to fail in confidence in her children 
and her God? Fortes fortuna adjuvat; so says 
the proverb. If the chance concurrence of half 
a dozen sophists, or the embassy of three philo- 
sophers, could do so much of old to excite the 
enthusiasm of the young, and to awaken the 
intellect into activity, is it very presumptuous, 


or very imprudent, in us at this time, to enter 
upon an undertaking, which comes to us with 
the blessing of St. Peter, the exhortation of the 
Church of St. Patrick, the cooperation of the 
faithful, the prayers of the poor, and all the 
ordinary materials of success, resources, intellect, 
pure intention, and self-devotion, to bring it into 
effect? Shall it be said in future times, that 
the work needed nought but good and gallant 
hearts, and found them not ? 




I HAVE had some debate with myself, whether 
what are called myths and parables, and similar 
compositions of a representative nature, are in 
keeping with this work; yet, considering that 
the early Christians recognized the Logi of the 
classical writers as not inconsistent with the 
gravity of their own literature, not to mention 
the precedent aiForded by the sacred text, I 
think I may proceed, without apology to myself 
or others, to impart to the reader in confidence, 
while it is fresh on my mind, a conversation 
which I have just had with an intimate English 
friend, on the general subject to which these 
columns are devoted. I do not say that it was 
of a very important nature ; still to those who 
choose to reflect, it may suggest more than it 
expresses. It took place only a day or two ago, 
on occasion of my paying him a flying visit. 
My friend lives in a spot as convenient as it 


is delightful. The neighbouring hamlet is the 
first station out of London of a railroad ; while 
not above a quarter of a mile from his boundary 
wall flows the magnificent river, which moves 
towards the metropolis through a richness of 
grove and meadow of its own creation. After a 
liberal education, he entered a lucrative business ; 
and, making a competency in a few years, ex- 
changed New Broad Street for the *' fallentis 
semita vita3". Soon after his marriage, which 
followed this retirement, his wife died, and left 
him solitary. Instead of returning to the world, 
or seeking to supply her place, he gave himself 
to his garden and his books; and with these 
companions he has passed the last twenty years. 
He has lived in a largish house, the " monarch 
of all he surveyed" ; the sorrows of the past, his 
creed, and the humble chapel not a stone's throw 
fi-om his carriage-gate, have saved him from the 
selfishness of such a sovereignty, and the op- 
pressiveness of such a solitude; yet not, if I may 
speak candidly, from some of the inconveniences 
of a bachelor life. He has his own fixed views, 
firom which it is difficidt to move him, and some 
people say that he discourses rather than con- 
verses, though, somehow, when I am with him, 


from long familiarity, I manage to get through 
as many words as he. 

I do not know that such peculiarities can in 
any case be called moral defects ; certainly not, 
when contrasted with the great mischiefs which 
a life so enjoyable as his might have done to 
him, and has not. He has indeed been in pos- 
session of the very perfection of earthly happi- 
ness, at least as I view things ; — mind, I say of 
" earthly" ; and I do not say that earthly happi- 
ness is desirable. On the contrary, man is bom 
for labour, not for self; what right has any one 
to retire from the world and profit no one ? He 
who takes his ease in this world, will have none 
in the world to come. All this rings in my 
fi-iend's ears quite as distinctly as I may fancy it 
does in mine, and has a corresponding effect 
upon his conduct; who would not exchange 
consciences with him ? but still the fact remains, 
that a life such as his is in itself dangerous, and 
that, in proportion to its attractiveness. If in- 
deed there were no country beyond the grave, it 
would be our wisdom to make of our present 
dwelling-place as much as ever we could ; and 
this would be done by the very life which my 
friend has chosen, not by any absurd excesses, 


not by tumult, dissipation, excitement, but by 
the " moderate and rational use", as Protestant 
sermons say, " of tlie gifts of Providence". 

Easy circumstances, books, friends, literary 
connexions, the fine arts, presents from abroad, 
foreign correspondents, handsome appointments, 
elegant simplicity, gravel walks, lawns, flower 
beds, trees and shrubberies, summer houses, 
strawberry beds, a greenhouse, a wall for 
peaches, " hoc erat in votis" ; — nothing out of 
the way, no hot-houses, graperies, pineries, — 
" Persicos odi, puer, apparatus", — no mansions, 
no parks, no deer, no preserves; these things 
are not worth the cost, they involve the bother 
of dependents, they interfere with enjoyment. 
One or two faithful servants, who last on as the 
trees do, and cannot change their place; — the 
ancients had slaves, a sort of dumb waiter, and 
the real article; alas! they are impossible now. 
We must have no one with claims upon us, or 
with rights; no incumbrances; no wife and 
children. We must have acquaintance within 
reach, yet not in the way ; ready, not trouble- 
some or intrusive. We must have something of 
name, or of rank, or of ancestry, or of past 
official life, to raise us from the dead level of 


mankind, to afford food for the imagination of 
our neighbours, to bring us from time to time 
strange visitors, and to invest our home with 
mystery. In consequence we shall be loyal 
subjects, good conservatives, fond of old times, 
averse to change, suspicious of novelty, because 
we know perfectly when we are well off, and 
that in oxir case " progredi est regredi". To a 
life such as this, a man is more attached, the 
longer he lives; and he would be more and 
more happy in it too, were it not for the memento 
within him, that books and gardens do not make 
a man immortal ; that, though they do not leave 
him, he at least must leave them, all but " the 
hateful cypresses", and must go where the only 
book is the book of doom, and the only garden 
the Paradise of the just. 

All this has nothing to do with our Univer- 
sity, but nevertheless they are some of the 
reflections which came into my mind, as I left 
the station I have spoken of, and turned my face 
towards my Mend's abode. As I went along, 
on the lovely afternoon of last Monday, which 
had dried up the traces of a wet morning, and 
as I fed upon the soothing scents and sounds 
which filled the air, I began to reflect how the 


most energetic and warlike race among tlie 
descendants of Adam, had made, by contrast, 
this Epicurean life, the " otium cum dignitate", 
the very type of human happiness. A life in 
the country, in the midst of one's own people, 
was the dream of Roman poets from Virgil to 
Juvenal, and the reward of Roman statesmen 
from Cincinnatus to Pliny, I called to mind 
the Corycian old man, so beautifully sketched 
in the fourth Georgic, and then my own fantastic 
protestation in years long dead and gone, that, 
if I were free to choose my own line of life, 
it should be that of a gardener in some great 
family, a life without care, without excitement, 
in which the gifts of the Creator screened off 
man's evil doings, and the romance of the past 
coloured and illuminated the matter-of-fact 

" Otium divos", I suppose the reader will say. 
Smiling myself at the recollection of my own 
absurdity, I passed along the silent avenues of 
solemn elms, which, belonging to a nobleman's 
domain, led the way towards the humbler 
dwelling for which I was bound; and then I 
recurred to the Romans, wandering in thought, 
as in a time of relaxation one is wont; and I 


contrasted, or rather investigated, the respective 
aspects, one with another, under which a country 
life, so dear to that conquering people nationally, 
presented itself severally to Cicero, to Virgil, to 
Horace, and to Juvenal, and I asked myself 
under which of them all was my friend's home 
to be regarded. Then suddenly the scene 
changed, and I was viewing it in my own way ; 
for I had known him and it, since I was a 
schoolboy, in his father's time ; and I recollected 
with a sigh how I had once passed a week there 
of my summer holidays, and what I then 
thought of persons and things I met there, of its 
various inmates, father, mother, brothers, and 
sister, all of them, but himself and me, now 
numbered with the departed. Thus Cicero and 
Horace glided off from my field of view, like 
the circles of a magic lantern ; and my ears, no 
longer open to the preludes of the nightingales 
around me, which were preparing for their 
nightly concert, heard nothing but 

The voices of the dead, and songs of other years. 

Thus, deep in sad thoughts, I reached the 
well-known garden gate, and unconsciously 
opened it, and was upon the lower lawn, ad- 


vancing towards the house, before I apprehen- 
ded shrubberies and beds, which were sensibly 
before me, otherwise than through my memory. 
Then suddenly the vivid past gave way, and the 
actual present flowed in upon me, and I saw my 
friend pacing up and down on the side furthest 
from me, with his hands behind him, and a 
newspaper or some such publication in their 

It is an old-fashioned place; the house may 
be of the date of George the Second ; a square 
hall in the middle, and in the centre of it a 
pillar, and rooms all around. The servants' 
rooms and offices run off on the right ; a rookery 
covers the left flank, and the drawing-room 
opens upon the lawn. There a large plane tree, 
with its massive branches, whilome sustained a 
swing, when there were children on that lawn, 
bHthely to undergo an exercise of head, at 
the very thought of which the grown man 
sickens. Three formal terraces gradually con- 
duct down to one of the majestic avenues, of 
which I have already spoken ; the second and 
third, intersected by grass walks, constitute the 
kitchen-garden. As a boy, I used to stare at 
the magnificent cauliflowers and large apricots 


wliicli it furnished for the table ; and how diffi- 
cult it was to leave off, when once one crot 
among the gooseberry bushes in the idle mor- 
ning ! 

I had now got close upon my friend ; and, in 
retui'n for the schoolboy reminiscences and tran- 
quil influences of the place, was ungrateful 
enough to begin attacking him for his epicurean 
life. " Here you are, you old pagan", I said, 
" as usual, fit for nothing so much as to be one 
of the interlocutors in a dialogue of Cicero's". 

" Yo^i are a pretty fellow", he made answer, 
" to accuse me of paganism, who have yourself 
been so busily engaged just now in writing up 
Athens"; and then I saw that it was several 
numbers of the Gazette, which he had in his 
hand, and which perhaps had given energy to 
his step. 

After giving utterance to some general ex- 
pressions of his satisfaction at the publication, 
and the great interest he took in the under- 
taking to which it was devoted, he suddenly 
stopped, turned round upon me, looked hard in 
my face, and taking hold of a button of my 
coat, said abruptly: "But what on earth pos- 
sessed you, my good friend, to have any -thing 


to do with this Irish University ? what was it to 
you ? how did it fall in your way ?" 

I could not help laughing out; "01 see", I 
cried, " you consider me a person who cannot 
keep quiet, and must ever be in one scrape or 

" Yes, but seriously, tell me", he urged, "what 
had you to do with it? ,what was Ireland to 
you? you had your own line and your own 
work ; was not that enough ?" 

" Well, my dear Richard", I retorted, " better 
do too much than too little". 

" A tu quoque is quite unworthy of you", he 
replied ; " answer me, charissime, what had you 
to do with an Irish undertaking? do you think 
they have not clever men enough there to work 
it, but you must meddle ?" 

" Well", I said, " I do not think it is an Irish 
undertaking, that is, in such a sense that it is 
not a Catholic undertaking, and one which in- 
timately and directly interests other countries 
besides Ireland". 

" Say England", he interposed. 

" Well, I say and mean England : I think it 
most intimately concerns England ; unless it was 
an aifair of England, as well as of Ireland, I 


should have sympathized in so grand a con- 
ception, I should have done what I could to aid 
it, but I should have had no call, as yovi well 
say, I should have considered it presumption in 
me, to take an active part in its execution". 

He looked at me with a laughing expression in 
his eye, and was for a moment silent ; then he 
began again: 

" You must think yourself a great genius", 
he said, " to fancy that place is not a con- 
dition of capacity. You are an Englishman; 
your mind, your habits are English ; you have 
hitherto been acting only upon Englishmen, 
with Englishmen ; do you really anticipate that 
you will be able to walk into a new world, and 
to do any good service there, because you have' 
done it here? Ne sutor ultra crepidam. I 
would as soon believe that you could shoot your 
soul into a new body, according to the Eastern 
tale, and make it your own". 

I made him a bow ; " I thank you heartily", 
I said, " for the seasonable encouragement you 
give me in a difficult undertaking; you are de- 
termined, Richard, that I shall not get too 
much refreshment from your shrubberies". 

" I beg your pardon", he made answer, " do 


not mistake me ; I am only trying to draw you 
out; I am curious to know how you came to 
make this engagement ; you know we have not 
had any talk together for some time". 

"It maybe as you say", I answered; "that 
is, I may be found quite unequal to what I have 
attempted; but, I assure you, not for want of 
zealous and able assistance, of sympathizing 
friends, — not because it is in Ireland, instead of 
England, that I have to work". 

" They tell me", he replied, " that they don't 
mean to let you have any EngHshmen about you 
if they can help it". 

" You seem to know a great deal more about 
it here than I do in Ireland", I answered: "I 
have not heard this ; but still, I suppose, in for- 
mer times, when men were called from one 
country to another for a similar purpose, as Peter 
from Ireland to Naples, and John of Melrose to 
Paris, they did in fact go alone". 

"Modest man ! " he cried, " to compare your- 
self to the sages and doctors of the Middle Age ! 
But still the fact is not so : far from going alone, 
the very number they could and did spare from 
home is the most remarkable evidence of the 
education of the Irish in those times. Moore, I 


recollect, emphatically states, that it was abroad 
that the Irish sought, and abroad that they found, 
the rewards of their genius. If any people ought 
to suffer foreigners to come to them, it is they 
who have, with so much glory to themselves, so 
often gone to foreigners. In the passage I have 
in my eye, Moore calls it 'the peculiar fortune of 
Ireland, that both in talent and in fame her sons 
have prospered more signally abroad than at 
home; that not so much those who confined 
their labours to their native land, as those who 
carried their talents and zeal to other lands, won 
for their country the high title of the Island of 
the Holy and the Learned'. But, nat to insist 
on the principle of reciprocity, jealousy of fo- 
reigners among them is little in keeping with 
that ancient hospitality of theirs, of which his- 
tory speaks as distinctly ". 

"Really", I made answer, "begging your 
pardon, you do not quite know what you are 
talking about. You never were in Ireland, I 
believe ; am I likely to know less than you ? If 
there be a nation, which in matters of intellect 
does not want ' protection ', to use the political 
word, it is the Irish. A stupid people would 
have a right to claim it, when they would set up 


a University ; but, if I were you, I would think 
twice before I paid so bad a compliment to one 
of the most gifted nations of Europe, as to sup- 
pose that it could not keep its ground, that it 
would not take the lead, in the intellectual 
arena, though competition was perfectly open. 
If their ' grex philosophorum' spread in the 
medieval time over Europe, in spite of the perils 
of sea and land, will they not be sure to fill the 
majority of chairs in their own University in an 
age like this, from the sheer claims of talent, 
though those chairs were open to the world? 
No; a monopoly would make the cleverest 
people idle ; it would sink the character of tlieir 
undertaking, and Ireland herself would be the 
first to exclaim against the places of a great 
school of learning becoming mere pieces of 
patronage and occasions for jobbing, like the 
sees of the Irish Establishment". 

My friend did not reply, but looked grave ; 
at length he said that he was not stating what 
ought to be, but what would be; Irishmen 
boasted, and justly, that in ancient times they 
went to ISIelrose, to Malmesbury, to Glaston- 
bury, to East Anglia, to Oxford; that they 
established themselves in Paris, Ratisbon, Padua, 


Pavia, Naples, and other continental schools; 
but til ere was in fact no reciprocity now ; Paris 
had not been simply for Frenchmen, nor Oxford 
simply for Englishmen, but Ireland must be 
solely for the Irish. 

" Really, in truth", I made answer, " to speak 
most seriously, I think you are prejudiced and 
unjust, and I should be very sorry indeed to 
have to believe that you expressed an English 
sentiment. I am sure you do not. However, 
you speak of what you simply do not know. 
In Ireland, as in every country, there is of 
course a wholesome jealousy towards persons 
placed in important posts, such as my own, lest 
they should exercise their power unfairly ; tliere 
is a fear of jobs, not a jealousy of English; and 
I don't suppose you think I am likely to turn 
out a jobber. This is all I can grant you at 
the utmost, and perhaps I grant too much. But 
I do most solemnly assure you, that, as far as I 
have had the means of bearing witness, there is 
an earnest wish in the promoters and advocates 
of this great undertaking to get the best men 
for its execution, wherever they are to be found, 
in England, or in France, or in Belgium, or in 
Germany, or in Italy, or in the United States; 


though there is an anticipation too, which is far 
from unreasonable, that for most of the Pro- 
fessorships of the University the best men will 
be found in Ireland. Of course in particular 
cases, there ever will be a diiference of opinion 
who is the best man ; but this does not interfere 
at all, as is evident, with the honest desire on all 
sides, to make the Institution a real honour to 
Ireland and a defence of Ireland's faith". 

My companion again kept silence, and so we 
walked on ; then he suddenly said : " Come let 
us have some tea, since you tell me" (I had told 
him by letter), " that you cannot take a bed ; 
the last train is not over-late". 

As we walked towards the house, " The truth 
is", he continued, speaking slowly, " I had 
another solution of my own difficulty myself. I 
cannot help thinking that your Gazette makes 
more of persons than is just, and does not lay 
stress enough upon Drder, system, and rule, in 
conducting a University. This is what I have 
said to myself ' After all, suppose there be an 
exclusive system, it does not much matter; a 
great institution, if well organized, moves of 
itself, independently of the accident of its par- 
ticular functionaries' . . . Well now, is it not 


SO?" he added briskly; "you have been laying 
too much stress n^pon perso7is ?" 

I hesitated how best I should begin to answer 
him, and he went on: — "Look at the Church 
herself; how little she depends on individuals ; 
in proportion as she can develop her system, 
she dispenses Avith them. In times of great 
confusion, in countries under conversion, great 
men are given to her, great Popes, great Evan- 
gelists ; but there is nd call for Hildebrands or 
Ghislieris in the nineteenth century, or for 
Winfrids or Xaviers in modern Europe. It 
is so with states; despotisms require great 
monarchs, Turkish or Russian; constitutions 
manage to jog on without them; this is the 
meaning of the famous saying ' Quantula sapi- 
entia regitur mundus !' What a great idea 
again, to use Guizot's expression, is the Society 
of Jesus ! what a creation of genius is its or- 
ganization ! but so well adapted is the institution 
to its object, that for that very reason it can 
afford to crush the individual in his personal 
gifts; so much so, that, in spite of the rare 
talents of its members, it has even become an 
objection to it in the mouth of its enemies, that 
it has not produced a thinker like Scotus or 


Malebranclie. Now, I consider your papers 
make too much of persons, and put system out 
of sight; and this is the sort of consolation 
which occurs to me, in answer to the misgivings 
which come upon me, about the exclusiveness 
with which the University seems to me to be 

" You know", I answered, " these papers have 
not got half through their subject yet. I assure 
you I do not at all forget, that something more 
than able Professors are necessary to make a 

" Still", said he, " I should like to be certain 
you were sufficiently alive to the evils which 
spring from overvaluing them. You have talked 
to us a great deal about Platos, Hephaestions, 
Herods, and the rest of them, sophists one and 
all, and very little about a constitution. All 
that you have said has gone one way. You 
have professed a high and mighty independence 
of state patronage, and a conviction that the 
demand and supply of knowledge is all in all ; 
that the supply must be provided before the 
demand in order to create it; and that great 
minds are the Instruments of that supply. You 
have founded your ideal University on indi- 


viduals. Then, I say, on this hypothesis, be 
sure you have for your purpose the largest 
selection possible; do not proclaim that you 
mean to have the tip-top men of the age, and 
then refuse to look out beyond one country for 
them, as if any country, though it be Ireland, 
had a monopoly of talent. Observe, I say this 
on your hypothesis ; but I confess I am disposed 
to question its soundness, and it is in that way I 
get over my own misgiving about you. I say 
that, may be, your University need not have the 
best men; it may fall back on a jog-trot system, 
a routine, and perhaps it ought to do so". 

•' Forbid it !" said I ; " you cannot suppose 
that what you have said is new to me, or that I 
do not give it due weight. Indeed I could 
almost write a dissertation on the subject you 
have started, that is, on the functions and mutual 
relations, in the conduct of human affairs, of 
Influence and Law. I should begin by saying 
that these are the two moving powers which 
carry on the world, and that in the supernatural 
order they are absolutely united in the Source 
of all perfection. I should observe that the 
Supreme Being is both, — a living, individual 
Agent, as sovereign as if an Eternal Law were 


not; and a Rule of right and wrong, and an 
Order fixed and irreversible, as if He had no 
will, or supremacy, or characteristics of per- 
sonality. Then I should say that here below 
the two principles are separated, that each has 
its own fvinction, that each is necessary for the 
other, and that they ought to act together ; yet 
that it too often happens that they become 
rivals of one another, that this or that acts of 
itself, and will encroach upon the province, or 
usurp the rights of the other; and that then 
every thing goes wrong. Thus I should start, 
and would you not concur with me? Would 
it not be sufficient to give you hope that I am 
not taking a one-sided view of the subject of 
University education?" 

He answered, as one so partial to me was siire 
to answer ; that he had no sort of suspicion that 
I was acting without deliberation, or without 
viewing the matter as a whole ; but still he could 
not help saying that he thought he saw a bias in 
me which he had not expected, and he would be 
truly glad to find himself mistaken. " Do you 
know", he said, " I am surprised to find that 
you, of all men in the world, should be taking 
the intellectual line, and should be advocating 


the professorial system. Surely it was once far 
otherwise ; I thought our line used to be, that 
knowledge without principle was simply mis- 
chievous, and that Professors did but represent 
and promote that mischievous knowledge. This 
used to be our language ; and, beyond all doubt, 
a great deal may be said in support of it. What 
is heresy in ecclesiastical history but the action 
of personal influence against law and precedent ? 
and what were such heterodox teachers as the 
Arian leaders in primitive times, or Abelard in 
the middle ages, but the eloquent and attractive 
masters of philosophical schools ? And what 
again were Arius and Abelard but the forerun- 
ners of modern German professors, a set of 
clever charlatans, or subtle sophists, who aim at 
originality, show, and popularity, at the expense 
of truth ? Such men are the nucleus of a 
system, if system it may be called, of which dis- 
order is the outward manifestation, and scepti- 
cism the secret life. This you used to think; 
but now you tell us that demand and supply are 
all in all, and that supply must precede demand ; 
— and that this is a University in a nutshell". 

I laughed, and said he was unfair to me, and 
rather had not understood me at all. " We are 


neither of us theologians or metaphysicians", 
said I; "yet I suppose we know the difference 
between a direct cause and a sine qua iion, and 
between the essence of a thing and its integrity. 
Things are not content to be in fact just what 
we contemplate them in the abstract, and no- 
thing more ; they require something more than 
themselves, sometimes as necessary conditions of 
their being, sometimes for their well-being. 
Breath is not part of man ; it comes to him from 
without; it is merely the surrounding air, in- 
haled, and then exhaled; yet no one can live 
without breathing. Place an animal under an 
exhausted receiver, and it dies ; yet the air does 
not enter into its definition. When then I say, 
that a Great School or University consists in the 
communication of knowledge, in lecturers and 
hearers, that is, in the Professorial system, you 
must not run away with the notion that I con- 
sider personal influence enough for its well- 
being. It is indeed its essence, but something 
more is necessary than barely to get on from 
day to day; for its sure and comfortable ex- 
istence we must look to law, rule, order; to 
religion, from which law proceeds ; to the colle- 
giate system, in which it is embodied; and to 


endowments, by which it -is protected and per- 
petuated. This is the part of the subject which 
my papers have not yet touched upon ; nor 
could they well treat of what comes second, till 
they had done justice to what comes first". 

I thought that here he seemed disposed to 
interrupt me, so I interposed : " Now, please, 
let me bring out what I want to say, while I am 
full of it. I say then, that the personal in- 
fluence of the teacher is able in some sort to 
dispense with an academical system, but that 
the system cannot in any sort dispense with 
personal influence. With influence there is life, 
without it there is none ; if influence is deprived 
of its due position, it will not by those means 
be got rid of, it will only break out irregularly, 
dangerously. An academical system without 
the personal influence of teachers upon pupils, 
is an arctic winter ; it will create an ice-bound, 
petrified, cast-iron University, and nothing else. 
You will not call this any new notion of mine ; 
and you will not suspect, after what happened 
to me a long twenty-five years ago, that I can 
ever be induced to think otherwise. No ! I 
have known a time in a great School of Letters, 
when things went on for the most part by mere 


routine, and form took the place of earnestness. 
I have experienced a state of things, in which 
teachers were cut off from the taught as by an 
insurmountable barrier ; when neither party en- 
tered into the thoughts of the other ; when each 
lived by and in itself; when the tutor was sup- 
posed to fulfil his duty, if he trotted on like a 
squirrel in his cage, if at a certain hour he was 
in a certain room, or in hall, or in chapel, as it 
might be ; and the pupil did his duty too, if he 
was careful to meet his tutor in that same room, 
or hall, or chapel, at the same certain hour ; and 
when neither the one nor the other dreamed of 
seeing each other out of lecture, out of chapel, 
out of academical gown. I have known places 
where a stiff manner, a pompous voice, coldness 
and condescension, were the teacher's attributes, 
and where he neither knew, nor wished to 
know, and avowed he did not wish to know, the 
private irregularities of the youths committed to 
his charge. 

" This was the reign of Law without Influ- 
ence, System without Personality. And then 
again, I have seen in this dreary state of things, 
as you yourself well know, while the many went 

their way and rejoiced in their liberty, how that 



such as were better disposed and aimed at higher 
things, looked to the right and the left, as sheep 
without a shepherd, to find those who would 
exert that influence upon them which its legiti- 
mate owners made light of; and hoW, wherever 
they saw a little more profession of strictness and 
distinctness of creed, a little more intellect, prin- 
ciple, and devotion, than was ordinary, thither 
they went, poor youths, like St. Anthony when 
he first turned to God, for counsel and encou- 
ragement; and how, as this feeling, without 
visible cause, mysteriously increased in the sub- 
jects of that seat of learning, a whole class of 
teachers gradually arose, unrecognized by its 
authorities, and rivals to the teachers whom it 
furnished, and gained the hearts and became the 
guides of the youthfixl generation, who found no 
sympathy where they had a claim for it. And 
then moreover, you recollect, as well as I, how, 
as time went on and that generation grew up and 
came into University oflice themselves, then, 
from the memory of their own past discomfort, 
they tried to mend matters, and to unite Rule 
and Influence together, which had been so long 
severed, and how they claimed from their pupils 
for themselves that personal attachment which in 


tlielr own pupillage they were not invited to be- 
stow; and tlien, how in consequence a struggle 
began between the dry old red-tapists, as in po- 
litics they are called, and — " 

Here my friend, who had been unaccountably 
impatient for some time, fairly inteiTupted me. 
" It seems very rude", he said, " very inhospita- 
ble ; it is against my interest ; perhaps you will 
stay the night ; but if you must go, go at once 
you must, or you will lose the train". An an- 
nouncement like this turned the current of my 
thoughts, and I started up. In a few seconds 
we were walking, as briskly as elderly men 
walk, towards the garden entrance. Sorry was 
I to leave so abruptly so sweet a place, so old 
and so dear to me ; sorry to have disturbed it 
with controversy instead of drinking in its calm. 
When we reached the lofty avenue, from 
which I entered, Richard shook my hand, and 
wished me God-speed, 

" portaque emittit eburna". 





Taking Influence and Law to be the two great 
principles of Government, it is plain that, histo- 
rically speaking, Influence comes first, and then 
Law. Thus Orpheus preceded Lycurgus and 
Solon. Thus Deioces the Mede laid the foim- 
dations of his power in his personal reputation 
for justice, and then established it in the seven 
walls by which- he surrounded himself in Ecba- 
tana. First we have the " virum pietate gra- 
vem", whose word "rules the spirits and soothes 
the breasts" of the multitude ; — or the warrior ; — 
or the mythologist and bard; — then follow at 
length the dynasty and constitution. Such is 
the history of society: it begins in the poet, 
and ends in the policeman. 

Universities are instances of the same course : 
they begin in Influence, they end in System. 
At first, whatever good they may have done, 


has been the work of persons, of personal exer- 
tions; of faith in persons, of personal attach- 
ments. Their Professors have been a sort of 
preachers and missionaries, and have not only 
taught, but have won over or inflamed their 
hearers. As time Jias gone on, it has been 
found out that personal influence does not last 
for ever; that individuals get past their work, 
that they die, that they cannot always be de- 
pended on, that they change ; that, if they are to 
be the exponents of a University, it will have no 
abidance, no steadiness ; that it will be great and 
small again, and will inspire no trust. Accor- 
dingly, system has of necessity been superadded 
to individual action; a University has been em- 
bodied in a constitution, it has exerted authority, 
it has been protected by rights and privileges, it 
has enforced discipline, it has developed itself 
into Colleges, and has admitted Monasteries into 
its territory. The details of this advance and 
cousvunmation are of course different in different 
instances; each University has a career of its 
own; I have been stating tlie process in the 
logical, rather than in the historical order ; but 
such it has been on the whole, whether in 
ancient or medieval times. Zeal began, power 


and wisdom completed : private enterprise came 
first, national or governmental recognition fol- 
lowed ; first the Greek, then the Macedonian and 
Roman; the Athenian created, the Imperialist 
organized and consolidated. This is the subject 
I am going to enter upon to-<day. 

Now as to Athens, I have already shown what 
it did, and implied what it did not do ; and I 
shall proceed to say something more about it. I 
have another reason for dwelling on the subject; 
it will lead me to direct attention to certain cha- 
racteristics of Athenian opinion, which are not 
only to my immediate purpose, but will form an 
introduction to something I should like to say 
on a future occasion, if I could grasp my own 
thoughts, about the philosophical sentiments of 
the present age, their drift, and their bearing on 
a University. This is another matter; but I 
mention it, because it is one out of several rea- 
sons which will set me on a course in which I 
shall seem to be ranging very wide of my mark, 
while all the time I shall have a meaning in my 

Beginning then the subject very far back, I 
observe that the guide of life, implanted in our 


natutc, discriminating right from wrong, and 
investing right with authority and sway, is our 
Conscience, which Revelation does but enligh- 
ten, strengthen, and refine. Coming from one 
and the same Author, these internal and exter- 
nal monitors of course recognize and bear witness 
to each other; Nature warrants without anticipa- 
ting the Supernatural, and the Supernatural 
completes without superseding Nature. Such 
is the divine order of things; but man, — not 
being divine, nor over partial to so stern a 
reprover within his breast, yet seeing too the 
necessity of some rule or other, some common 
standard of conduct, if Society is to be kept 
together, and the children of Adam to be saved 
from setting up each for himself with every one 
else his foe, — as soon as he has secured for him- 
self some little cultivation of intellect, looks about 
him how he can manage to dispense with Con- 
science, and find some other principle to do its 
work. The most plausible and obvious and ordi- 
nary of these expedients, is the Law of the State, 
human law ; the more plausible and ordinary, be- 
cause it really comes to us with a divine sanc- 
tion, and necessarily has a place in every society 
or community of men. Accordingly it is very 


widely used instead of Conscience, as but a little 
experience of life will show us ; " the law says 
this"; "would you have me go against the law?" 
is considered an unanswerable argument in every 
case ; and, when the two come into collision, it 
follows of course that Conscience is to give way, 
and the Law to prevail. 

Another substitute for Conscience is the rule 
of Expediency : Conscience is pronounced super- 
annuated, and retires on a pension whenever a 
people is so far advanced in illumination, as to 
perceive that right and wrong can to a certain 
extent be measured and determined by the 
useful on the one hand, and by the hurtful on 
the other; according to the maxim, which 
embodies this principle, that " honesty is the 
best policy". 

Another substitute of a more refined character 
is, the principle of Beauty: — it is maintained 
that the Beautiful and the Virtuous mean the 
same thing, and are convertible terms. Ac- 
cordingly Conscience is found out to be but 
slavish ; and a fine taste, an exquisite sense of the 
decorous, the graceful, and the appropriate, this 
is to be our true guide for ordering our mind and 
our conduct, and bringing the whole man into 


sliape. These are great sophisms, it is plain; 
for, true though it be, that virtue is always 
expedient, always fair, it does not therefore 
follow that every thing which is expedient, and 
every thing which is fair, is virtuous. A pesti- 
lence is an evil, yet may have its undeniable 
uses; and war, " glorious war", is an evil, yet 
an army is a very beautiful object to look upon ; 
and what holds in these cases, may hold in 
others ; so that it is not very safe or logical to 
say that Utility and Beauty are guarantees for 

However, there are these three principles 
of conduct, which may be plausibly made use of 
in order to dispense with Conscience ; viz., Law, 
Expedience, and Propriety; and (at length to 
come to our point) the Athenians chose the last 
of them, as became so exquisite a people, and 
professed to practise virtue on no inferior con- 
sideration, but simply because it was so praise- 
worthy, so noble, and so fair. Not that they 
discarded Law, not that they had not an eye to 
their interest ; but they boasted that " grass- 
hoppers" like them, old of race and pure of 
blood, could be influenced in their conduct by 
nothing short of a line and delicate taste, a 


sense of honour, and an elevated, aspiring spirit. 
Their model man, like the pattern of chivalry, 
was a gentleman, KoXoKayaOoc ; — a word which 
has hardly its equivalent in the sterner lan- 
guage of Rome, where, on the contrary, 

Vir bonus est quis ? 
Qui consulta patrum, qui leges juraque servat. 

For the Romans deified Law, as the Athenians 
deified the Beautiful. 

This being the state of the case, Athens was 
in truth a ready-made University.' The present 
age, indeed, with that solidity of mind for 
which it is indebted to Christianity, and that 
practical character which has ever been the 
peculiarity of the West, would bargain that the 
True and Serviceable as well as the Beautiful 
should be made the aim of the Academic in- 
tellect and the business of a University; — of 
course, — but the present age, and every age, 
will bargain for many things in its schools which 
• Athens had not, when once we set about sum- 
ming up her desiderata. Let us take her as she 
was, and I say, that a people so speculative, so 
imaginative, which throve upon mental activity 
as other races upon repose, and to whom it 



came as natural to think, as to a barbarian to 
smoke or to sleep, such a people were in a true 
sense born teachers, and merely to live among 
them was a cultivation of mind. Hence they 
suddenly took their place in this capacity from 
the time tliat they had emancipated themselves 
from the aristocratic families, with which their 
history opens. We talk of the " republic of 
letters", because thought is free, and minds of 
whatever rank in life are on a level. The 
Athenians felt that a democracy was but the 
political expression of an intellectual isonomy, 
and, when they had obtained it, and taken the 
Beautiful for their Sovereign, instead of Pisis- 
tratus, they came forth as the civilizers, not of 
Greece only, but of the European world. 

A century had not passed from the expulsion 
of the Pisistratidffi, when Pericles was able to 
call Athens the *' schoolmistress" of Greece. 
And ere it had well run out, upon her mis- 
fortunes in Sicily, the old Syracusan, who 
pleaded in behalf of her citizens, conjured his 
fellow-citizens, " in that they had the gift of 
Reason", to have mercy upon those, who had 
opened their land, as "a common school", to all 
men ; and he asks, " To what foreign land will 


men betake themselves for liberal education, if 
Athens be destroyed ?" And the story is well 
known, when, in spite of his generous attempt, 
the Athenian prisoners were set to work in the 
stone-quarries, how that those who could recite 
passages from Euripides, found this accomplish- 
ment serve them instead of ransom, for their 
liberation. Such was Athens on the coast of 
the -^gean and in the Mediterranean; and it 
was hardly more than the next generation, when 
her civilization was conveyed by means of the 
conquests of Alexander into the very heart of 
further Asia, and was the life of the Greek 
kingdom which he founded in Bactriana. She 
became the centre of a vast intellectual propa- 
gandism, and had in her hands the spell of a 
more wonderful influence than that semi-bar- 
barous power which first conquered and then 
used her. Wherever the Macedonian phalanx 
held its ground, thither came a colony of her 
philosophers; Asia Minor and Syria were co- 
vered with her schools, while in Alexandria her 
children, Theophrastus and Demetrius, became 
the life of the great literary undertakings which 
have immortalized the name of the Ptolemies. 
Such was the effect of that pecuKar demo- 


cracy, in wKlch Pericles glories in his celebrated 
Funeral Oration. It made Athens in the event 
politically weak, but it was her strength as an 
ecumenical teacher and civilizer. The love of 
the Beautiful will not conquer the world, but, 
like the voice of Orpheus, it may for a while 
carry it away captive. Such is that " divine 
Pliilosophy", in the poet's words, 

" Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, 
But musical, as is Apollo's lute, 
And a perpetual feast of uectared sweets, 
Where no crude surfeit reigns". 

The Athenians then exercised Influence by 
discarding Law. It was their boast that they 
had found out the art of living well and happily, 
without working for it. They professed to do 
right, not from servile feeling, not because they 
were obliged, not from fear of command, not 
from belief of the unseen, but because it was 
their nature, because it was so truly pleasant, 
because it was such a luxury to do it. Their 
political bond was good will and generous sen- 
timent. They were loyal citizens, active, hardy, 
brave, munificent, from their very love of what 
was high, and because the virtuous was the 
enjoyable, and the enjoyable was the virtuous. 


They regulated themselves by music, and so 
danced though life. 

Thus, according to Pericles, while, in private 
and personal matters, each Athenian was suf- 
fered to please himself, without any tyrannous 
public opinion to make him feel uncomfortable, 
the same freedom of will did but unite the peo- 
ple, one and all, in concerns of national interest, 
because obedience to the magistrates and the 
laws was with them a sort of passion, to shrink 
from dishonour an instinct, and to repress 
injustice an indulgence. They could be splen- 
did in their feasts and spectacles without extra- 
vagance, because the crowds whom they at- 
tracted from abroad, repaid them for the outlay ; 
and such large hospitality did but cherish in 
them a frank,' unsuspicious, and courageous 
spirit, which better protected them than a pile 
of state secrets and exclusive laws. Nor did 
this joyous mode of life relax them, as it might 
relax a less noble race, for they were warlike 
without effort, and expert without training, and 
rich in resources by the gift of nature, and, after 
their fill of pleasure, they were only more gallant 
in the field, and more patient and enduring on 
the march. They cultivated the fine arts with 


too much taste to be expensive, and they studied 
the sciences with too much point to become 
eiFeminate; debate did not bkmt their energy, 
nor foresight of danger chill their daring; but, 
as their tragic poet expresses it, " the loves 
were the attendants upon wisdom, and had a 
share in the acts of every virtue". 

Such was the Athenian according to his own 
account of himself, and very beautiful is the 
picture ; very original and attractive ; very 
suitable, certainly, to a personage, who was to 
to be the world-wide Professor of the humanities 
and the philosophic Missionary of mankind. 
Suitable, if he could be just what I have been 
depicting him, and nothing besides ; but, alas ! 
when we attentively consider what the above 
conception was likely in fact to turn out, as 
soon as it came to be carried into execution, 
we shall feel no surprise, on passing from 
panegyric to experience, that he looks so 
different in history, from what he promised to 
be in the glowing periods of the orator. The 
case, as we have already remarked, is very sim- 
ple : if beautifulness was all that was needed to 
make a thing right, then nothing graceful and 
pleasant could be wrong ; and, since there is 


no abstract idea but admits of being embel- 
lished and dressed up, and made pleasant and 
graceful, it followed as a matter of course that 
any thing whatever is permissible. One sees at 
once, that, taking men as they are, the love of 
the Beautiful would be nothing short of the love 
of the Sensual ; nor was the anticipation falsified 
by the event : for in Athens genius and volup- 
tuousness ever went hand in hand, and their 
literature, as it has come down to us, is no 
sample or measure of their mode of living. 

Their literature indeed is of that serene 
and severe beauty, which has ever been as- 
sociated with the word "classical" ; and it is grave 
and profound enough for the ancient Fathers to 
have considered it a preparation for the gospel ; 
but we are concerned, not with the writings, 
but with the social life of Athens. I have been 
speaking of her as a living body, as an in- 
tellectual home, as the pattern school of the 
Professorial system ; and we now see where the 
hitch lay. She was of far too fine and dainty a 
nature for the wear and tear of life ; — she needed 
to be *' of sterner stuff", if she was to aspire to 
the charge of the young and inexperienced. 
Not all the zeal of the teacher and devotion of 


the pupil, the thirst of giving and receiving, the 
exuberance of demand and supply, will avail for 
a University, unless some provision is made for 
the maintenance of authority and of discipline, 
unless the terrors of the Law are added to the 
persuasives of the Beautiful. Influence was not 
enough without command. This too is the 
reason why Athens, with all her high gifts, 
was at fault, not only as a University, but as 
an Empire. She was proud, indeed, of her 
imperial sway, in the season of her power, and 
ambitious of its extension ; but, in matter of fact, 
she was as ill adapted to reign in the cities of 
the earth, as to rule in its schools. 

Thou couldst a people raise, but couldst not rule. 

In this world no one rules by mere love ; if you 
are but amiable, you are no hero ; to be power- 
ful, you must be strong, and to have domi- 
nion you must have a genius for organizing. 
Macedon and Rome were, as in politics, so in 
literature, the necessary complement of Athens. 

Yet there is something so winning in that 
idea of Athenian life, which Pericles sets before 
us, that, acknowledging, as, alas! I must ac- 
knowledge, that it was inseparable from the 



gravest disorders, in this world as it is, and mucli 
more in the pagan world, and that at best it is 
only ephemeral, if attempted, still, since I am 
now going to bid farewell to Athens and her 
schools, I am not sorry to be able to pay her some 
sort of compliment in parting. I think, then, her 
great orators have put to her credit a beautiful 
idea, which, though not really fulfilled in her, 
has literally and unequivocally been realized 
within the territory of Christianity. I am not 
speaking of course of the genius of the Athe- 
nians, which was peculiar to themselves, nor of 
those manifold gifts in detail, which have made 
them the wonder of the world, but of that pro- 
fession of philosophical democracy, so original 
and so refined in its idea, of that grace, freedom, 
nobleness, and liberality of daily life, of which 
Pericles, in his oration, is specially enamoured ; 
and, with my tenderness, on the one hand, for 
Athens (little as I love the radical Greek 
character), and my devotion to a particular 
Catholic Institution on the other, I have ever 
thought I could trace a certain resemblance 
between Athens, as contrasted with Rome, and 
the Oratory of St. Philip, as viewed in contrast 
with the Religious Orders. 


All the creations of Holy Church have their 
own excellence and do their own service ; each 
is perfect in its kind, nor can any one be mea- 
sured against another in the way of rivalry or an- 
tagonism. We may admire one of them without^ 
disparaging the rest ; again, we may specify its 
characteristic gift, without implying thereby 
that it has not other gifts also. Whereas then, 
to take up the language which my friend 
Richard has put into my mouth, there are two 
great principles of action in human affairs, 
Influence and System, some ecclesiastical insti- 
tutions are based upon System, and others upon 
Influence. Which are those which flourish and 
fulfil their mission by means of System? Evi- 
dently the Regular Bodies, as the very word 
" regular" implies ; they are great, they are 
famous, they spread, they do exploits, in the 
strength of their Rule. They are of the nature 
of imperial states. Ancient Rome, for instance, 
had the talent of organization ; and she formed 
a pohtical framework to unite to herself and to 
each other the countries which she successively 
conquered. She sent out her legions all over 
the earth to secure and to govern it. She 
created establishments which were fitted to last 


for ever ; she brought together a hundred nations 
into one, and she moulded Europe on a model, 
which it retains even now ; — and this not by a 
sentiment or an imagination, but by wisdom of 
policy, and the iron hand of Law. Establish- 
ment is the very idea, which the name of 
Imperial Rome suggests. Athens, on the other 
hand, was as fertile, indeed, in schools, as Rome 
in military successes and political institutions; 
she was as metropolitan a city, and as frequented 
a capital, as Rome ; she drew the world to her, 
she sent her literature into the world ; — but still 
men came and went, in and out, without con- 
straint; and her preachers went to and fro, as 
they pleased; she sent out her missions by 
reason of her energy of intellect, and men 
came on pilgrimage to her from their love for 

Observe, I am all along directing attention, 
not to the genius of Athens, which belonged to 
her nature, but to what is separable from her, 
her method and her instruments. I repeat, that, 
contrariwise to Rome, it was the method of 
Influence: it was the absence of rule, it was 
the action of personality, the intercourse of 
soul with soul, the play of mind upon mind, 


it was an admirable spontaneous force, which 
kept the schools of Athens going, and made 
the pulses of foreign intellects keep time with 

Now, I say, if there be an Institution in the 
Catholic Church, which in this point of view 
has caught the idea of this great heathen precur- 
sor of the Truth, and has made that idea Chris- 
tian, — if it proceeds from one who has even 
gained for himself the title of the " Amabile 
Santo", — who has placed the noblest aims before 
his children, yet withal the freest course ; who 
always drew them to their duty, instead of 
commanding, and brought them on to perform 
before they had promised ; who made it a man's 
praise that he " potuit transgredi, et non est 
transgressus, facere mala, et non fecit" ; who in 
his humility had no intention of forming any 
congregation at all, but had formed it before he 
knew it, from the beauty and the fascination of 
his own saintliness; and then, when he was 
obliged to recognize it and put it into shape, 
shrank from the severity of the Regular, would 
have nothing to say to vows, and forbade pro- 
pagation and dominion; whose houses stand, 
like Greek colonies, independent of each other 


and complete in themselves ; whose subjects in 
those several houses are allowed, like Athenian 
citizens, freely to cultivate their respective gifts 
and to follow out their own mission ; whose one 
rule is love, and whose one weapon influence ; — 
I say, if all this is true of a certain Congregation 
in the Church, and if it so happens that that 
Congregation, in the person of one of its mem- 
bers, finds itself at the present moment in con- 
tact with the preparatory movements of the 
establishment of a great University, then surely 
I may trust, without fancifulness and without 
impertinence, that there is a providential fitness 
discernible in the circumstance of the tradi- 
tions of that Congregation flowing in upon 
the first agitation of that design; and, though 
to frame, to organize, and to consolidate, be the 
imperial gift of St. Dominic or St. Ignatius, and 
beyond his range, yet a son of St. Philip Neri 
may aspire without presumption to the prelimi- 
nary task of breaking the ground and clearing 
the foundations of the Futirre, of introducing 
the great idea into men's minds, and making 
them understand it, and love it, and have hope 
in it, and have faith in it, and show zeal for it ; — 
of bringing many intellects to work together for 


it, and of teaching tliem to understand each other, 
and bear with each other, and go on together, 
not so much by rule, as by mutual kind feeling 
and a common devotion, — after the conception 
and in the spirit of that memorable people, who, 
though they could bring nothing to perfection, 
were great (over and above their supreme 
originality) in exciting a general interest, and 
in creating an elevated taste, in the various 
subject-matters of art, science, and philosophy. 

But here I am only in the middle of my 
subject, and at the end of my paper; so I must 
reserve the rest of what I have to say for the 
next chapter. 




Looking at Athens as the preacher and mis- 
sionary of Letters, and as enlisting the whole 
Greek race in her work, who is not struck with 
admiration at the range and multiplicity of her 
operations? At first, the Ionian and ^olian 
cities are the principal scene of her activity; 
but, if we look on a century or two, we shall 
find that she forms the intellect of the colonies^ 
of Sicily and Magna Grsecia, has penetrated 
Italy, and is shedding the light of philosophy 
and awakening thought in the cities of Gaul by 
means of Marseilles, and along the coast of Africa 
by means of Cyrene. She has sailed up both 
sides of the Euxine, and deposited her literary 
wares where she stopped, as traders nowadays 
leave samples of foreign merchandize, or as 
war steamers land muskets and ammunition, or as 
agents for religious societies drop their tracts or 


scatter their versions. The whole of Asia Minor 
and Syria resounds with her teaching ; the bar- 
barians of Parthia are quoting fragments of her 
tragedians; Greek manners are introduced and 
perpetuated on the Hydaspes and Acesines; 
Greek coins, lately come to light, are struck in 
the capital of Bactriana ; and so charged is the 
moral atmosphere of the East with Greek civili- 
zation, that, down to this day, those tribes are 
said to show to most advantage, which can claim 
relation of place or kin with Greek colonies 
established there above two thousand years ago. 
But there is one city, which, though Greece 
and Athens have no longer any memorial in it, 
has in this point of view a claim, beyond the 
rest, upon our attention ; and that, not only from 
its Greek origin, and the memorable name 
which it bears, but because it introduces us to a 
new state of things, and is the record of an 
advance in the history of the education of the 
intellect ; — I mean, Alexandria. 

Alexander, if we must call him a Greek, 
which the Greeks themselves would not permit, 
did that which no Greek had done before ; or 
rather, because he was no thorough Greek, 
though so nearly a Greek by descent and birth- 


place and by tastes, lie was able, without sacri- 
ficing what Greece was, to show himself to be 
what Greece was not. The creator of a wide 
empire, he had talents for organization and 
administration, which were foreign to the Athe- 
nian mind, and which were absolutely neces- 
sary if its mission was to be carried out. The 
picture, which history presents of Alexander, 
is as beautiful as it is romantic. It is not only 
the history of a youth of twenty, pursuing con- 
quests so vast, that at the end of a few years he 
had to weep that there was no second world to 
subjugate, but it is that of a beneficent prince, 
civilizing, as he went along, both by his political 
institutions and by his patronage of science. It 
is this union of an energetic devotion to letters 
with a genius for sovereignty, which places him 
in contrast both to Greek and Roman. Caesar, 
with all his cultivation of mind, did not conquer 
to civilize, any more than Hannibal ; he must 
add Augustus to himself, before he can be an 
Alexander. The royal pupil of Aristotle and 
Callisthenes started, where aspiring statesmen or 
generals end ; he professed to be more ambitious 
of a name for knowledge than for power, and 
he paid a graceful homage to the city of in- 


tellect by confessing, when he was in India, 
that he was doing his great acts to gain the im- 
mortal praise of the Athenians. The classic 
poets and philosophers were his recreation; he 
preferred the contest of song to the palestra; of 
medicine he had more than a theoretical know- 
ledge ; and his ear for music was so fine, that 
Dryden's celebrated Ode, legendary as it may be, 
only does justice to its sensitiveness. He was 
either expert in fostering, or quick in detecting, 
the literary tastes of those around him ; and two 
of his generals have left behind them a literary 
fame. Eumenes and Ptolemy, after his death, en- 
gaged in the honourable rivalry, the one in Asia 
Minor, the other in Egypt, of investing the 
dynasties which they respectively founded, with 
the patronage of learning and of its professors. 

Ptolemy, upon whom, on Alexander's death, 
devolved the kingdom of Egypt, supplies us 
with the first great instance of what may be 
called the establishment of Letters. He and 
Eumenes may be considered the first founders of 
public libraries. Some authors indeed allude to 
the Egyptian king, Osymanduas, and others 
point to Pisistratus, as having created a pre- 
cedent for their imitation. It is difficult to say 


what these pretensions are exactly worth: or 
how far those personages are entitled to more 
than the merit of a conception, which obviously 
would occur to various minds before it was 
actually accomplished. There is more reason 
for referring it to Aristotle, who, from his rela- 
tion to Alexander, may be considered as the 
head of the Macedonian literary movement, and 
whose books, together with those of his rich 
disciple, Theophrastus, ultimately came into the 
possession of the Ptolemies; but Aristotle's 
idea, to whatever extent he realized it, was 
carried out by the two Macedonian dynasties 
with a magnificence of execution, which kings 
alone could project, and a succession of ages 
secure. For the first time, a great system was 
set on foot for collecting together in one, and 
handing down to posterity, the oracles of the 
world's wisdom. In the reign of the second 
Ptolemy the number of volumes rescued from 
destruction, and housed in the Alexandrian 
Library, amounted to 100,000, as volumes were 
then formed; in course of time it grew to 
400,000; and a second collection was com- 
menced, which at length rose to 300,000, 
making, with the former, a sum total of 


700,000 volumes. During Caesar's military de- 
fence of Alexandria, the former of these collec- 
tions was unfortunately burned; but, in com- 
pensation, the library received the 200,000 
volumes of the rival collection of the kings of 
Pergamus, the gift of Antony to Cleopatra. 
After lasting nearly a thousand years, this 
noblest of dynastic monuments was deliberately 
burned, as all the world knows, by the Saracens, 
on their becoming masters of Alexandria. 

A library, however, was only one of two 
great conceptions brought into execution by the 
first Ptolemy ; and as the first was the embalm- 
ing of dead genius, so the second was the 
endowment of living. Here again the Egyptian 
priests may be said in a certain sense to have 
preceded him ; moreover, in Athens itself there 
had grown up a custom of maintaining in the 
Prytaneum at the public cost, or of pensioning, 
those who had deserved well of the state, nay, 
their children also. This had been the privilege, 
for instance, conferred on the family of the 
physician Hippocrates, for his medical services 
at the time of the plague; but I suppose the 
provision of a home or residence was never 
contemplated in its idea. But as regards litera- 


ture itself, to receive money for teaching, was con- 
sidered to degrade it to an illiberal purpose, as 
had been felt in the instance of the Sophists; 
even the Pythian prize for verse, though at first 
gold or silver, became nothing more than a 
crown of leaves, as soon as a sufficient com- 
petition was secured. Kings, indeed, might la- 
vish precious gifts upon the philosophers or 
poets whom they kept about them ; but such 
practices did not proceed on rule or by engage- 
ment, nor imply any salary settled on the 
objects of their bounty. Ptolemy, however, 
prompted, or at least encouraged, by the cele- 
brated Demetrius of Phalerus, put into execution 
a plan for the formal endowment of literature 
and science. The fact indeed of the possession 
of an immense library seemed sufficient to render 
Alexandria a University ; for what could be a 
greater attraction to the students of all lands, 
than the opportunity afforded them of intellec- 
tual converse, not only with the living, but with 
the dead, with all who had any where at any time 
thrown light upon any subject of inquiry? But 
Ptolemy determined that his teachers of know- 
ledge should be as stationary and as permanent 
as his books; so resolving to make Alexandria 


the seat of a Studium Generale, he founded a 
Collesre for its domicile, and endowed that 
College with ample revenues. 

Here, I consider, he did more than has been 
commonly done, till modern times. It requires 
considerable knowledge of medieval Universities 
to be entitled to give an opinion ; as to Germany, 
for instance, or Poland, or Spain ; but, as far as I 
have a right to speak, such a measure has been 
rare down to the sixteenth century, as well as 
before Ptolemy. The University of Toulouse, I 
think, was founded in a College ; so was Orleans ; 
so has been the Protestant University of Dublin ; 
other Universities have yearly salaries from the 
Government ; but even the University of Oxford 
to this day, viewed as a University, is a poor body. 
Its Professors have for the most part a scanty en- 
dowment and no residence ; and it subsists 
mainly on fees received from year to year from 
its members. Such too, I believe, is the case 
with the University of Cambridge. The Uni- 
versity founded in Dubhn in John the Twenty- 
second's time, fell for lack of funds. The Uni- 
versity of Paris could not be very wealthy, even 
in the ninth century of its existence, or it would 
not have found it necessary to sell its beautiful 


Park or Pratum. As for ourselves here, it is 
commonly understood, that we are starting with 
ample means already, while large contributions 
are still expected ; a sum equal perhaps to a third 
of what has already been collected is to be 
added to it from the United States ; as to Ireland 
herself, the overflowing, almost miraculous libe- 
rality of her poorest classes makes no anticipation 
of their prospective contributions extravagant. 
Well, any how, if money made a University, we 
might expect ours to last as long as the Ptole- 
mies' ; and, I suppose, there is no one who would 
not be content that an institution, which he 
helped to found, should live through a thousand 

But to return to the Alexandrian College. It 
was called the Museum, — a name since appro- 
priated to another institution connected with the 
seats of science. Its situation affords an additi- 
onal instance in corroboration of remarks I have 
already made upon the sites of Universities. 
There was a quarter of the city so distinct from 
the rest in Alexandria, that it is sometimes 
spoken of as a suburb. It was pleasantly situ- 
ated on the water's edge, and had been set aside 
for ornamental buildings, and was traversed by 


groves of trees. Here stood the royal palace, 
here the theatre and amphitheatre; here the 
gymnasia and stadium ; here the famous Sera- 
peum. And here it was, close upon the Port, 
that Ptolemy placed his Library and College. 
As might be supposed, the building was worthy 
of its purpose ; a noble portico stretched along 
its front, for exercise or conversation, and opened 
upon the public rooms devoted to disputations 
and lectures. A certain number of Professors 
were lodged within the precincts, and a hand- 
some hall, or refectory, was provided for the 
common meal. The Prefect of the house was a 
priest, whose appointment lay with the govern- 
ment. Over the Library a dignified person 
presided, who, if his jurisdiction extended to 
the Museum also, might somewhat answer to a 
medieval or modern Chancellor; the first of 
these functionaries being the celebrated Athe- 
nian who had so much to do with the original 
design. As to the Professors, so liberal was 
their maintenance, that a philosopher of the 
very age of the first foundation called the place 
a " bread basket", or a " bird coop" ; yet, in 
spite of accidental exceptions, so careful on the 

whole was their selection, that even six hun- 



died years afterwards, Ammianus describes the 
JMuseum under the title of " the lasting abode of 
distinguished men". Philostratus, too, about a 
century before, calls it "a table gathering to- 
gether celebrated men" : a phrase which merits 
attention, as testifying both to the high character 
of the Professors, and to the means by which 
they were secured. In some cases, at least, they 
were chosen by what is now called concursus, 
in which the native Egyptians are said sometimes 
to have surpassed the Greeks. We read too 
of literary games or contests, apparently of the 
same nature. As time went on, new Colleges 
were added to the original Museum; of which 
one was a foundation of the Emperor Claudius, 
and called after his name. 

It cannot be thought that the high reputation 
of these foundations would have been main- 
tained, unless Ptolemy had looked beyond 
Egypt for occupants of his chairs; and indeed 
he got together the best men, wherever he could 
find them. On these he heaped wealth and 
privileges, and so complete was their naturali- 
zation in their adopted country, that they lost 
their usual surnames, drawn from their place of 
birth, and, instead of being called, for instance, 


Apion of Oasis, or Aristarchus of Samothracia, 
or Dionysius of Thrace, received eacli simply 
the title of '* the Alexandrian". Thus Clement 
of Alexandria, the learned father of the Church, 
was a native of Athens. 

A diversity of teachers secured an abundance 
of students. " Hither", says Cave, "as to a 
public emporium of polite literature, congre- 
gated, from every part of the world, youthful 
students, and attended the lectures in Gram- 
mar, Rhetoric, Poetry, Philosophy, Astronomy, 
Music, Medicine, and other arts and sciences"; 
and hence proceeded, as it would appear, the 
great Christian writers and doctors, Clement, 
whom I have just been mentioning, Origen, 
Anatolius, and Athanasius. St. Gregory Thau- 
maturgus, in the third century, may be added ; 
he came across Asia Minor and Syria from 
Pontus, as to a place, says his namesake of 
Nyssa, " to which young men from all parts 
gathered together, who were applying them- 
selves to philosophy". 

As to the subjects taught in the Museum, 
Cave has already enumerated the principal ; but 
he lias not done justice to the peculiar character 
of the Alexandrian school. From the time 


that science got out of the hands of the pure 
Greeks, into those of a power which had a 
talent for administration, it became less theore- 
tical, and bore more distinctly upon definite 
and tangible objects. The very conception of 
an endowment is a specimen of this change. 
Without yielding the palm of subtle speculation 
to the Greeks, pbilosophy assumed a more mas- 
culine and vigorous character. Dreamy theo- 
rists, indeed, they could also show in still higher 
perfection than Athens, where there was the 
guarantee of genius that abstract investigation 
would never become ridiculous. Tlie Alexan- 
drian Neo-platonists certainly have incurred the 
risk of this imputation; yet, Potamo, Ammo- 
nius, Plotinus, and Hierocles, who are to be 
numbered among them, with the addition per- 
haps of Proclus, in spite of the frivolousness 
and feebleness of their system, have a weight of 
character, taken together, which would do 
honour to any school. And the very circum- 
stance that they originated a new philosophy is 
no ordinary distinction in the intellectual world : 
and that it was directly intended to be a rival 
and refutation of Christianity, while it is no 
merit certainly in a religious judgment, marks 


the practical character of the Museum even amid 
its subtleties. So much for their philosophers t 
among their poets was ApoUonius of Rhodes, 
Avhose poem on the Argonauts carries with it, 
in the very fact of its being still extant, the testi- 
mony of succeeding ages either to its merit, or to 
its antiquarian importance. Egyptian antiquities 
were investigated at least by the disciples of the 
Egyptian Manetho, fragments of whose history 
are considered to remain; while Carthaginian 
and Etruscan had a place in the studies of the 
Claudian College. The Museum was celebra- 
ted, moreover, for its grammarians; the work 
of Hephaestion de Metris still affords matter of 
thought to a living Professor of Oxford ;* and 
Aristarchus, like the Athenian Priscian, has 
almost become the nick-name for a critic. 

Yet, eminent as is the Alexandrian school in 
these departments of science, its fame rests still 
more securely upon its proficiency in medicine 
and mathematics. Among its physicians is the 
celebrated Galen, who was attracted thither from 
Pergamus ; and we are told by a writer of the 

*Dr. Gaisford, since dead. For the Alexandrian Gram- 
marians, vid. Fabric. Bibl. Graec, t. vi., p. 353. 


fourth century,* tliat in his time the very fact of 
a physician having studied at Alexandria, was an 
evidence of his science which superseded further 
testimonial. As to mathematics, it is sufficient 
to say, that, of four great ancient names, on 
whom the modern science is founded, three came 
from Alexandria. Archimedes indeed was a 
Syracusan; but the Museum may boast of 
Apollonius of Perga, Diophantus, a native 
Alexandrian, and Euclid, whose country is un- 
known. Of these three, Euclid's services to 
geometry are known, if not appreciated, by 
every school-boy ; Apollonius is the first writer 
on Conic Sections; and Diophantus the first 
writer on Algebra. To these illustrious names, 
may be added, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, to 
whom astronomy has obligations so conside- 
rable ; Pappus ; Theon ; and Ptolemy, said 
to be of Pelusium, whose celebrated system, 
called after him the Ptolemaic, reigned in the 
schools till the time of Copernicus, and whose 
Geography, dealing with facts, not theories, is in 
repute still. 

Such was the celebrated Studium or Univer- 

* Ammianus. 


slty of Alexandria; for a while, in tlie course of 
the third and fourth centuries, it was subject to 
reverses, principally from war. The whole of 
the Bruchion, the quarter of the city in which 
it was situated, was given to the flames; and, 
when Hilarion came to Alexandria, the holy 
hermit, whose rule of life did not suiFer him 
to lodge in cities, took up his lodgment with 
a few solitaries among the ruins of its edi- 
fices. The schools, however, and the library 
continued; the library was reserved for the 
Caliph Omar's famous judgment; as to the 
schools, even as late as the twelfth century, the 
Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, gives us a surprising 
report of what he found in Alexandria. " Out- 
side the city", he says, a mode of speaking which 
agrees with what has been above said about the 
locality of the Museum, " is the Academy of 
Aristotle, Alexander's preceptor; a handsome 
pile of building, which has twenty Colleges, 
whither students betake themselves from all' 
parts of the world to learn his philosophy. 
The marble columns divide one College from 

Though the Roman schools have more direct 


bearirfg on the subsequent rise of the medieval 
Universities, they are not so exact an antici- 
pation of its type, as the Alexandrian Museum. 
They differ from the Museum, as being for the 
most part, as it would appear, devoted to the 
education of the very young, without any refe- 
rence to the advancement of science. No list of 
writers or discoveries, no local or historical 
authorities, can be adduced, from the date of 
Augustus to that of Justinian, to rival the fame 
of Alexandria ; we hear on the contrary much of 
the elements of knowledge, the Trivium and 
Quadrivium ; and the Law of the Empire provi- 
ded, and the Theodosian Code has recorded, 
the discipline necessary for the students. Teach- 
ing and learning was a department of govern- 
ment; and schools were set up and professors 
endowed, just as soldiers were stationed or courts 
opened, in every great city of the East and 
West. In Rome itself the seat of education was 
'placed in the Capitol; ten chairs were appointed 
for Latin Grammar, ten for Greek; three for 
Latin Rhetoric, five for Greek; one, some say 
three, for Philosophy; two or four for Roman 
Law. Professorships of Medicine were after- 
wards added. Under Grammar (if St. Gregory's 


account of Athens in Roman times may be ap- 
plied to the Roman schools generally), were 
included knowledge of language and metre, cri- 
ticism, and history. Rome, as might be expec- 
ted, and Carthage, were celebrated for their 
Latin teaching ; Roman Law is said to have been 
taught in three cities only, Rome itself, Constan- 
tinople, and Bery tus ; but this probably was the 
restriction of a later age. 

The study of grammar and geography was 
commenced at the age of twelve, and apparently 
at the private school, and was continued till the 
age of fourteen. Then the youths were sent to 
the public academy for oratory, philosophy, ma- 
thematics, and law. The course lasted five 
years ; and, on entering on their twentieth year, 
their education was considered complete, and 
they were sent home. If they studied the law, 
they were allowed to stay, for instance, in Bery- 
tus, till their twenty -fifth year; a permission, 
indeed, which was extended in that city to the 
students in polite literature, or, as we should now 
say, in Arts. 

The number of youths, who went up to Rome 
for the study of the Law, was considerable; 
chiefly from Africa and Gaul. Originally the 


Government had discouraged foreigners in re- 
pairing to the metropoUs, from the dangers it 
naturally presented to youth; when their resi- 
dence there became a necessary evil, it contented 
itself with imposing strict rules of discipline upon 
them. No youth could obtain admission into 
the Roman schools, without a certificate signed 
by the magistracy of his province. Next, he 
presented himself before the Magister Census, an 
official who was in the department of the Fisc- 
fectus Urbis, and who, besides his ordinary du- 
ties, acted as Rector of the Academy. Next, 
his name, city, age, and qualifications were 
entered in a public register ; and a specification, 
moreover, of the studies he proposed to pursue, 
and of the lodging-house where he proposed to 
reside. He was amenable for his conduct to the 
Censuales, as if they had been Proctors ; and he 
was reminded that the eyes of the world were 
upon him, that he had a character to maintain, 
and that it was his duty to avoid clubs, of which 
the Government was jealous, riotous parties, and 
the public shows, which were of daily occurrence 
and of most corrupting tendency. If he was 
refractory and disgraced himself, he was to be 
publicly flogged, and shipped off at once to his 


country. Those who acquitted themselves well, 
were reported to the Government, and received 
public appointments. The Professors were un- 
der the same jurisdiction as the students, and 
were sometimes made to feel it. 

Of the schools planted through the Empire, 
the most considerable were the Gallic and the 
African, of which the latter had no good reputa- 
tion, while the Gallic name stood especially 
high. Marseilles, one of the oldest of the Greek 
colonies, was the most celebrated of the schools 
of Gaul for learning and for discipline. For this 
reason, and from its position, it drew off num- 
bers, under the Empire, who otherwise would 
have repaired to Athens. It was here that Agri- 
cola received his education; " a school", says his 
biographer, " in wliich Greek politeness was 
happily blended and tempered with provincial 
strictness". The schools of Bourdeaux and 
Autun also had a high name ; and Rheims re- 
ceived the title of a new Athens. This appella- ' 
tion was also bestowed upon the school of Milan. 
Besides these countries, respectful mention is 
made of the schools of Britain. As to Spain, 
the colonies there established are even called, by 
one commentator on the Theodosian code, "lite- 


rary colonies"; a singular title when Rome is 
concerned ; and, in fact, a number of writers of 
reputation came from Spain. Lucan, the Sene- 
cas, Martial, perhaps Quintilian, Mela, Colu- 
mella, and Hyginus, are its contribution in the 
course of a century. 

It will be seen that the Roman schools, as 
little as Athens itself, answer to the precise idea 
of a modern University. The Roman schools 
are for boys, or, at least, adolescentuU: Agricola 
came to Marseilles when a child, " parvulus ". 
On the other hand, a residence at Athens corre- 
sponded rather to seeing the world, as in touring 
and travels, and was often delayed till the season 
of education was over, Cicero went thither, 
after his public career had begun, with a view to 
his health, as well as his oratory. St. Basil had 
already studied at the schools of Caesarea and 
Cappadocia. Sometimes young men on cam- 
paign, when quartered near Athens, took the 
opportunity of attending her schools. However, 
the case was the same with Rome, so far as 
regards the departments of jurisprudence and 
general cultivation. We read both of Rusticus, 
the correspondent of St. Jerome, and of St. Ger- 
manus of Auxerre, coming to Rome, after atten- 


ding the Gallic schools ; — the latter expressly in 
order to study the law ; the former, for the same 
general purpose which might take a student to 
Athens, to polish and perfect his style of conver- 
sation and writing. 

All this suggests to us, what of course must 
ever be borne in mind, that, while the necessities 
of human society and the nature of the case are 
guarantees to us, that such Schools of general 
education are of a permanent nature, still they 
will be modified in detail by the circumstances, 
and marked by the peculiarities, of the age to 
which they severally belong. 




There never was, perhaps, in tlie liistoiy of this 
tumultuous -world, prosperity so great, so far- 
spreading, so lasting, as that which began 
throughout the vast Empire of Rome, at the 
time when the Prince of Peace was born into it. 
Preternatu^ral as was the tyranny of certain of 
the Cajsars, it did not reach the mass of the 
population; and the reigns of the Five good 
Emperors, who succeeded them, are proverbs of 
wise and gentle government. The sole great 
exception to this universal happiness was the 
cruel persecution of the Christians ; the sufferings 
of a whole world fell and were concentrated on 
them, and the children of heaven were torment- 
ed, that the sons of men might enjoy their revel. 
Their Lord, while His shadow brought peace upon 
earth, foretold that in the event He came to send 
"not peace but a sword"; and that sword was 


first let loose upon His own. " Judgment com- 
menced with the House of God" ; and though, as 
time went on, it issued forth from Jenisalem, 
and began to career round the world and sweep 
the nations as it travelled on, nevertheless, as if by 
some paradox of Providence, it seemed still, that 
truth and wretchedness had " met together", and 
sin and civilization had " kissed one another". 
The more the heathens prospered, the more they 
scorned, hated, and persecuted the true Light and 
true Peace. They persecuted Him, for the very 
reason that they had little else to do ; happy and 
haughty, they saw in Him the sole drawback, the 
sole exception, the sole hinderance, to a uni- 
versal, a continual svmshine; they called Him 
"the enemy of the human race": and they felt 
themselves bound, by their loyalty to the glo- 
rious and immortal memory of their forefathers, 
by their traditions of state, and their duties 
towards their children, to trample upon, and, if 
they could, to stifle that teaching, which was des- 
tined to be the life and mould of a new world. 

But our immediate subject here is, not Chris- 
tianity, but the world that passed away; and 
before it passed, it had, I say, a tranquillity 
great in proportion to its former commotions. 


Ages of trouble terminated in two centuries of 
peace. The present crust of the earth is said to be 
the result of a long war of elements, and to have 
been made so beautiful, so various, so rich, and 
so useful, by the discipline of revolutions, by 
earthquake and lightning, by mountains of water 
and seas of fire ; and so in like manner, it re- 
quired the events of two thousand years, the 
multiform fortunes of tribes and populations, the 
rise and fall of kings, the mutual collision of 
states, the spread of colonies, the vicissitude and 
the succession of conquests, and the gradual ad- 
justment and settlement of innu.merous discor- 
dant ideas and interests, to carry on the human 
race to unity, and to shape and consolidate the 
great Roman Power. 

And when once those unwieldy materials were 
welded together into one mass, what human 
force could split them up again? what " hammer 
of the earth" could shiver at a stroke, a solidity 
which it had taken ages to form? Who can 
estimate the strength of a political establishment, 
which has been the slow birth of time? and 
what establishment ever equalled Pagan Rome? 
Hence has come the proverb, " Rome was not 
built in a day " : it was the portentous solidity of 


its power that forced the gazer back upon an ex- 
clamation, which was the relief of his astonish- 
ment, as being his solution of the prodigy. 
And, when at length it was" built, Rome, so long 
in building, was "Eternal Rome": it had been 
done once for all; its being was inconceivable 
beforehand, and its not being was inconceivable 
afterwards. It had been a miracle that it was 
brought to be ; it would take a second miracle that 
it should cease to be. To remove it from its place 
was to cast a mountain into the sea. Look at 
the Palatine Hill, penetrated, traversed, cased 
with brick-work, till it appears a work of man, 
not of nature ; run your eye along the cliffs from 
Ostia to Terracina, covered with the debris of 
masonry; gaze around the bay of Baiae, whose 
rocks have been made to serve as the founda- 
tions and tlie walls of palaces ; and in those mere 
remains, lasting to this day, you will have a type 
of the moral and political strength of the es- 
tablishments of Rome. Think of the aque- 
ducts making for the imperial city for miles 
across the plain; think of the straight roads 
stretching off again from that one centre to the 
ends of the earth; consider the vast territory 

round about it strewn to this day with countless 



ruins ; follow in your mind its suburbs, exten- 
tending along its roads, for as much, at least in 
some directions, as forty miles ; and number up 
its continuous mass" of population, amounting, 
as grave authors say, to almost six million ; and 
answer the qviestion, how was Rome ever to be 
got rid of? why was it not to progress? why 
was it not to progress for ever? where was that 
ancient civilization to end? Such were the 
questionings and anticipations of thoughtful 
minds, not over loyal or fond of Rome. " The 
world", says Tertullian, " has more of culti- 
vation every day, and is better furnished than 
in times of old. All places are opened up now ; 
all are familiarly known ; all are scenes of busi- 
ness. Smiling farms have obliterated the noto- 
rious wilderness; tillage has tamed the forest 
land; flocks have put to flight the beasts of 
prey. Sandy tracts are sown ; rocks are put into 
shape; marshes are drained. There are more 
cities now, than there were cottages at one time. 
Islands are no longer wild ; the crag no longer 
frightful ; every where there is a home, a popu- 
lation, a state, and a livelihood". Such was the 
prosperity, such the promise of progress and 
permanence, in which the Assyrian, the Persian, 


the Greek, the Macedonian conquests had ter- 

Education had gone through a similar course 
of difficulties, and had a place in the prosperous 
result. First, carried forth upon the wings of 
genius, and disseminated by the energy of indi- 
vidual minds, or by the colonizing missions of 
single cities, knowledge was irregularly extended 
to and fro over the spacious regions, of which 
the Mediterranean is the common basin. In- 
troduced, in course of time, to a more intimate 
alliance with political power, it received the 
means, at the date of Alexander and his suc- 
cessors, both of its cultivation and its propaga- 
tion. It was formally recognized and endowed 
under the Ptolemies, and at length became a 
direct object of the solicitude of the government 
under the Caesars. It was honoured and dis- 
pensed in every considerable city of the Empire ; 
it tempered the political administration of the 
conquering people ; it civilized the manners of a 
hundred barbarian conquests; it gradually re- 
conciled uncongenial, and associated distant 
countries, with each other; while it had ever 
ministered to the fine arts, it now proceeded to 
subserve the useful. It took in hand the refer- 


mation of tlie world's religion; it began to 
harmonize the legends of discordant worships; 
it purified the mythology by making it symbo- 
lical ; it interpreted it, and gave it a moral, and 
explained away its idolatry. It began to dc- 
velope a system of ethics, it framed a code of 
laws : what might not be expected of it, as time 
went on, were it not for that illiberal, unintelli- 
gible, fanatical, abominable sect of Galileans? 
If they were allowed to make play, and get 
power, what might not happen? There again 
Christians were in the way, as hateful to the 
philosopher, as to the statesman. Yet truly it 
was not in this quarter that the peril of civiliza- 
tion lay : it lay in a very different direction, over 
against the Empire to the North and North-East, 
in a black cloud of inexhaustible barbarian 
populations : and when the storm mounted over- 
head and broke upon the eai^th, it was those 
scorned and detested Galileans, and none but 
they, the men-haters and god-despisers, who, 
returning good for evil, housed and lodged the 
scattered remnants of that world's wisdom, 
which had so persecuted them, went forth va- 
liantly to meet the savage destroyer, tamed him 
without arms, and became the founders of a new 


and higher civihzation. Not a man in Europe 
now, who talks bravely against the Church, but 
owes it to the Church, that he can talk at all. 

But what was to be the process, what the 
method, what the instruments, what the place, 
for sheltering the treasures of ancient intellect 
during the convulsion, of bridging over the 
abyss, and of linking the old world to the new ? 
In spite of the consolidation of its power, Rome 
was to go, as all things human go, and vanish 
for ever. In the words of inspiration, " Great 
Babylon came in remembrance before God, and 
every island fled away, and the mountains were 
not found". All the fury of the elements was 
directed against it ; and, as a continual dropping 
wears away the stone, so blow after blow, and 
convulsion after convulsion, sufficed at last to 
heave up, and hurl down, and smash into frag- 
ments, the noblest earthly power that ever was. 
First came the Goth, then the Hun, and then 
the Lombard. The Goth took possession, but 
he was of noble nature, and soon lost his barba- 
rism. The Hun came next ; he was irreclaim- 
able, but did not stay. The Lombard kept 
both his savageness and his ground; he appro- 
priated to himself the territory, not the civili- 


zation of Italy, fierce as the Hun, and powerful 
as the Goth, the most tremendous scourge of 
Heaven. In his dark presence the poor remains 
of Greek and Roman splendour died away, and 
the world went more rapidly to ruin, material 
and moral, than it was advancing from triumph 
to triumph in the time of Tertullian. Alas! 
the change between Rome in the hey-day of 
her pride, and in the agony of her judgment ! 
Tertullian writes while she is exalted; Pope 
Gregory when she is in humiliation. He was 
delivering homilies upon the Prophet Ezekiel, 
when the news came to Rome of the advance 
of the Lombards upon it, and in the course of 
them he several times burst out into lamenta- 
tions at the news of miseries, which eventually 
obliged him to cut short his exposition. 

" Sights and sounds of war", he says, " meet 
us on every side. The cities aje destroyed ; the 
military stations broken up ; the land devastated ; 
the earth depopulated. No one remains in the 
country ; scarcely any inhabitants in the towns ; 
yet even the poor remains of human kind are 
still smitten daily and without intermission. 
Before our eyes some are carried away captive, 
some mutilated, some murdered. She herself, 



who once was mistress of tlie world, we behold 
how Rome fares: worn down by manifold and 
incalculable distresses, the bereavement of citi- 
zens, the attack of foes, the reiteration of over- 
throws, where is her senate? where are her 
people? We, the few survivors, are still the 
daily prey of the sword and of other innume- 
rable tribulations. Where are they who in a 
former day revelled in her glory ? where is their 
pomp, their pride, their frequent and immoderate 
joy? Youngsters, young men of the world, con- 
gregated here from every quarter, where they 
aimed at a secular advancement. Now no one 
hastens up to her for preferment ; and the case is 
the same in other cities also ; some places are laid 
waste by pestilence, others are depopulated by 
the sword, others are tormented by famine, and 
others are swallowed up by earthquakes". 

These words, far from being a rhetorical 
lament, are but a meagre statement of some 
of the circumstances of a desolation, in which 
the elements themselves, as St. Gregory in- 
timates, as well as the barbarians, took a prin- 
cipal part. In the dreadful age of that great 
Pope, a plague spread from the lowlands of 
Egypt to the Indies on the one hand, along 


Africa across to Spain on the other, till, re- 
versing its course, it reached the eastern extre- 
mity of Europe. For fifty-two years did it retain 
possession of the infected atmosphere, and, during 
three months, five thousand, and at length ten 
thousand persons, are said to have died daily in 
Constantinople. Many cities of the East were 
left without inhabitants ; and in several districts 
of Italy there were no labourers to attend either 
harvest or vintage. A succession of earthquakes 
accompanied for years this heavy calamity. 
Constantinople was shaken for above forty days. 
Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are said 
to have perished in the earthquake of Antioch, 
crowded, as the city was, with strangers for the fes- 
tival of the Ascension. Berytus, the Eastern school 
of Roman jurisprudence, called, from its literary 
and scientific importance, the eye of Phoenicia, 
shared a similar fate. These, however, were but 
local visitations. Cities are indeed the homes of 
civilization, but the wide earth, with her hill 
and dale, open plain and winding valley, is its 
refuge. The barbarian invaders, spreading over 
the country, like a flight of locusts, did their 
best to destroy every fragment of the old world, 
and every element of revival. Twenty-nine 


public libraries bad been founded at Rome; 
but, had these been destroyed, as in Antioch or 
Berjtus, by earthquakes or by conflagration, 
yet a large aggregate of books would have still 
survived. Such collections had become a fashion 
and a luxury in the later Empire, and every 
colony and municipium, every larger temple, 
every prsstorium, the baths, and the private 
villas, had their respective libraries. When the 
ruin swept across the country, and these various 
libraries were destroyed, then the patient monks 
had begun again, in their quiet dwellings, to 
bring together, to arrange, to transcribe, and to 
catalogue ; but then again the new visitation of 
the Lombards fell, and INIonte Cassino, the 
famous metropolis of the Benedictines, not to 
mention monasteries of lesser note, was sacked 
and destroyed. 

Truly was Christianity revenged on that an- 
cient civilization for the persecution which it had 
inflicted on Christianity. Man ceased from the 
earth, and his works with him. The arts of life, 
^ architecture, engineering, agriculture, were alike 
brought to nought. The waters were let out 
over the face of the country; arable and pasture 
lands were drowned; land-marks disappeared. 


Pools and lakes intercepted tlie thoroughfares; 
whole districts became pestilential marshes ; the 
strong stream, or the abiding morass, sapped and 
obliterated the very site of cities. Here the 
mountain torrent cut a channel in the plain; 
there it elevated ridges across it; elsewhere it 
disengaged masses of rock and earth in its pre- 
cipitous passage, and, hurrying them on, left 
them as islands in the midst of the flood. 
Forests overspread the land, in rivalry of the 
waters, and became the habitation of wild 
animals, of wolves, and even bears. The 
dwindled race of man lived in scattered huts 
of mud, where best they might avoid marauder, 
and pestilence, and inundation; or clung to- 
gether for mutual defence in cities, where 
wretched cottages, on the ruins of marble 
palaces, over-balanced the security of numbers 
by the frequency of conflagration. 

In such a state of things, the very mention 
of education was a mockery ; the very aim and 
effort to exist was occupation enough for mind 
and body. The heads of the Church bewailed 
a universal ignorance, which they could not 
remedy; it was a great thing that schools re- 
mained sufficient for clerical education, and this 


education was only sufficient, as Pope Agatho 
informs us, to enable tliem to liand on the tra- 
ditions of the Fathers, without scientific expo- 
sition or polemical defence. In that Pope's time, 
the great Council of Rome, in its letter to the 
Emperor of the East, who had asked for Epis- 
copal legates of correct life and scientific know- 
ledge of the Scriptures, made answer, that, if 
by science was meant knowledge of revealed 
truth, the demand could be supplied; not, if 
more was required ; " since", continue the Fa- 
thers, " in these parts, the fury of our various 
heathen foes is ever breaking out, whether in 
conflicts, or in inroads and rapine. Hence our 
life is simply one of anxiety of soul and labour 
of body ; anxiety, because we are in the midst 
of the heathen ; labour, because the maintenance, 
which used to come to us as ecclesiastics, is at 
an end ; so that faith is our only substance, to 
live in its possession our highest "glory, to die 
for it our eternal gain". The very profession of 
the clergy is the knowledge of letters: if even 
these lost it, would others retain it in their 
miseries, to whom it was no duty? And what 
then was the hope and prospect of the world in 
the generations which were to follow ? 


"What is coming? what is to be the end?" 
Such was the question, which weighed so 
heavily upon the august line of Pontiffs, upon 
whom rested " the solicitude of all the churches", 
and whose failure in vigilance and decision in 
that miserable time had been the loss of ancient 
learning, and the indefinite postponement of 
new civilization. What could be done for art, 
science, and philosophy, when towns had been 
burned up, and country devastated? In such 
distress, islands, or deserts, or the mountain-top 
have commonly been the retreat, to which in 
the last instance the hopes of humanity have 
been conveyed. Thus the Christian Goths were 
just then biding their time to revenge themselves 
on the Saracens in the mountains of Asturias ; so 
too the monks of the fourth century had preserved 
the Catholic faith from the tyranny of Arianism 
in the Egyptian desert ; and so the inhabitants of 
Lombardy had taken refuge from the Huns in the 
shallows of the Adriatic. Where should the 
Steward of the Household deposit the riches, 
which his predecessors had inherited from Jew 
and heathen, the things old as well as new, in an 
age, in which each succeeding century threat- 
ened them with worse than the centuries which 


had gone before ! Pontiff after Pontiff loked out 
from the ruins of the Imperial City, which -were 
to be his ever-lasting, ever-restless throne, if per- 
chance some place was to be found, more 
tranquil than his own, where the hope of the 
future might be lodged. They looked over the 
Earth, towards great cities and far provinces, 
and whether it was Gregory, or Vitalian, or 
Agatho, or Leo, their eyes had all been drawn 
in one direction, and fixed upon one quarter for 
that purpose, — not to the East, from which the 
light of knowledge had arisen, nor to the West, 
whither it had spread, — but to the North. 

High in the region of the North, beyond the 
just limits of the Roman world, though partly 
included in its range, so secluded and secure in 
their sea-encircled domain, that they have been 
thought to be the fabulous Hesperides, where 
heroes dwelt in peace, lay two sister islands, 
— whose names and histories, warned by my 
diminished space, I must rcsei've for another 




Whatever were the real causes of the downfall of 
the ancient civilization, its immediate instrument 
was the fury of the barbarian invasions, directed 
again and again against the institutions in which 
it was embodied. First one came down upon the 
devoted Empire, and then another; and "that 
which the palmer worm left, the locust ate ; and 
what the locust left, the mildew destroyed". 
Nay, this succession of assaults did not merely 
carry on and finish the process of destruction, 
but rather undid the promise and actual prospect 
of recovery. In the interval between blow and 
blow, there was a direct tendency to a revival of 
what had been trodden down, and a restoration 
of what had been defaced ; and that, not only 
from any such reaction as might take place in 
the afSicted population itself, when the crisis was 
over, but from the incipient domestication of the 


conqueror, and the introduction of a new and 
vigorous element into the party and cause of 
civilization. The fierce soldier was vanquished 
by the captive of his sword and bow. The 
beauty of the southern climate, the richness of 
its productions, the material splendour of its 
cities, the majesty of the imperial organization, 
the spontaneous precision of a routine adminis- 
tration, the influence of religion upon the imagi- 
nation and the affections, antiquity, rule, name, 
prescription, and territory, presented in visible 
and recognized forms, — in a word, the conserva- 
tive power proper to establishments, — awed, 
overcame, and won, the sensitive and noble 
savage. " Order is heaven's first law", and bears 
upon it the impress of divinity ; and it has espe- 
cial power over those minds which have had 
least experience of it. The Goth not only took 
pay, and sought refuge, from the Empire, but, 
still more, when, instead of dependent, he was 
lord and master, he found himself absorbed into 
and assimilated with the civilization, upon which 
he had violently thrust himself. Had he been 
left in possession, great revolutions certainly, but 
not dissolution, would have been the destiny of 
the social framework; and the tradition of 


science and of the arts of life would have been 

Thus, in the midst of the awful events which 
were then in progress, there were intervals of 
respite and of hope. The day of wrath seemed 
to be passing away; things began to look up, 
and the sun was on the point of coming out 
again. Statesmen, who watched the signs of the 
times, perhaps began to say, that at last they did 
think that the worst was over, and that there 
were good grounds for looking hopefully at the 
state of affairs. Adolphus, the successor of Ala- 
ric, took on himself the obligations of a Roman 
general, assumed the Roman dress, accepted the 
Emperors sister in marriage, and opposed in 
arms the fiercer barbarians who had overrun 
Spain, The sons of Theodoric the Visigoth 
were taught Virgil and Roman Law in the 
schools of Gaul. Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, 
anxiously preserved the ancient monuments of 
Rome, and ornamented the cities of Italy with 
new edifices; he revived agriculture, promoted 
commerce, and patronized literature. But the 
Goth was not to retain the booty which the 
Roman had been obliged to relinquish ; he had 
soon, in company with his former foe, to repel 



tlie Vandal, the Hun, or the Frank ; or, weak- 
ened from within, to yield to the younger assail- 
ants who were to succeed him. Then the whole 
work of civilization had to begin again, — if 
indeed there was to be a new beginning; or 
rather there was not life enough left in its poor 
remains, to vivify the fresh mass of barbarism 
which fell heavily upon it, or even to save itself 
from a final extinction. As great Caesar fell, 
not under one, but under twenty strokes ; so it 
was only by many a cleaving, many a shattering 
blow, " scalpri frequentis ictibus et tunsione 
plurima", that the existing fabric of the old 
world, to which Caesar, more than any other, 
had given name and form, was battered down. 
It was the accumulation, the reiteration of cala- 
mities, in every quarter and through a long 
period, by "the rain falling, and the floods 
coming, and the winds blowing and breaking 
upon that house", that it fell, " and great was 
the fall thereof". 

The judgments of God were upon the earth, 
and "the clouds returned after the rain" ; and, 
as a thunder cloud careers around the sky, and 
condenses suddenly here or there, and repeats 

its violence when it seems to have been spent, so 



was it with tlie descent of the North upon the 
South. There was scarcely a province of the 
great Empire, but twice or thrice had to sustain 
attack, invasion, or occupation, from the bar- 
barian. Till the termination of the reign of 
the Antonines, for a hundred and fifty years, 
the long peace continued, which the Prince of 
Peace brought with Him ; then a fitful century 
of cloud and sunshine, hope and fear, suspense 
and afillction, till at length, just at the middle 
of the third century of our era, the trumpet 
sounded, and the time of visitation opened. 
The tremendous period opened in a great pesti- 
lence, and in an irruption of the barbarians both 
on the East and on the West. The pestilence 
lasted for fifteen years; and, though sooner 
brought to an end than that more awful pesti- 
lence in St. Gregory's day with which the season 
of judgment closed, yet in that fifteen years it 
made its way into every region and city of the 
Empire. Many cities were emptied; Rome at 
one time lost 5,000 inhabitants daily, Alexandria 
lost half her population. As to the barbarians, 
the Franks in the West descended into Spain ; 
and the Goths on the East into Asia Minor. 
Asia Minor had had a long peace of three 


hundred years, a phenomenon almost solitary 
in the history of the world, and difficult for the 
imagination to realize. Its cities were unwalled ; 
military duties had been abolished; the taxes 
were employed in the public buildings and the 
well-being and enjoyments of life; the face of 
the country was decorated and diversified by the 
long growth and development of vegetation, by 
the successive accumulations of art, and by the 
social memorials and reminiscences of nine peace- 
ful generations. Its parks and groves, its pa- 
laces and temples, were removed further by a 
hundred years from the injuries of warfare, than 
England is now from the ravages of the Great 
Rebellion. Down came the Goths from Prussia, 
Poland, and the Crimea ; they sailed along the 
Euxine, ravaged Pontus and Blthynia, sacked 
the wealthy Trebizond and Chalcedon, and 
burned the imperial Nicsea and Nicomedia, and 
other great cities of the country ; then fell upon 
Cyzlcus and the cities on the coast, and finally 
demolished the famous temple of Diana at Ephe- 
sus, the wonder of the world. Then they passed 
over to the opposite continent, sacked Athens, 
and spread dismay and confusion, if not confla- 
gration, through both upper Greece and the 


Peloponnese. At the same solemn era, the 
Franks fell upon Spain, and ran through the 
whole of it, destroying flourishing cities, whose 
ruins lay on the ground for centuries, nor 
stopped till they had crossed into Africa. 

A second time, at a later date, was Spain laid 
waste by the Vandals and their confederates, 
with an utter desolation of its territory. Famine 
became so urgent, that human flesh was eaten ; 
pestilence so rampant, that the wild beasts mul- 
tiplied among the works of man. Passing on to 
Africa, these detestable savages cut down the 
very fruit-trees, as they went, in the wantonness 
of their fury ; and the inhabitants of the plim- 
dered cities fled away with such property as 
they could save beyond sea. A new desolation 
of Africa took place two centuries later, when 
the Saracens passed in a contrary direction from 
Egypt into Spain. 

Nor were the Greek and Asiatic provinces, 
more than the West, destined to be protected 
against successive invasions. Scarcely a hun- 
dred years had passed since the barbarian Goth 
had swept so fiercely each side of the Egean, 
when additional blows fell upon Europe and 
Asia from distinct enemies. In Asia, the Huns 


poured down upon Cappadocia, Cilicla, and 
Syria, scaring the pagans of Antioch, and the 
monks and pilgrims of Palestine, silencing at 
once the melody of immodest song and of holy 
chant, till they came to the entrance of Egypt. 
In Europe it was the Goths again, who descen- 
ded with fire and sword into Greece, desolated 
the rich lands of Phocis and Boeotia, destroyed 
Eleusis and its time-honoured superstitions, and 
passing into the Peloponnese, burned its cities 
and enslaved its population. About the same 
time the fertile and cultivated tract, stretching 
from the Euxine to the Adriatic, was devastated 
by the same reckless invaders, even to the 
destruction of the brute creation. Sixty years 
afterwards the same region was overrun by the 
still more terrible Huns, who sacked as many 
as seventy cities, and carried off their inhabi- 
tants. This double scourge, of which Alaric 
and Attila are the earlier and later represen- 
tatives, travelled up the country northwards, and 
thence into Lombardy, pillaging, burning, ex- 
terminating, as it went along. 

What Huns and Goths were to the South, 
such were Germans, Huns, and Franks to Gaul. 
That famous country, though in a less favoured 


climate, was as cultivated and happy as Asia 
Minor after its three centuries of peace. The 
banks of the Rhine are said to have been lined 
with villas and farms ; the schools of Marseilles, 
Autun, and Boxudeaux, vied with those of the 
East, and even with that of Athens; opulence 
had had its civilizing eflPect upon their manners, 
and familiarity with the Latin classics upon 
their native dialect. At the time that Alaric 
was carrying his ravages from Greece into 
Lombardy, the fierce Burgundians and other 
Germans, to the number of 200,000 fighting 
men, fell upon Gaul; and, to use the words 
of a well-known historian, " the scene of peace 
and plenty was suddenly changed into a desert, 
and the prospect of the smoking ruins could 
alone distinguish the solitude of nature from the 
work of man". The barbarian torrent, sweeping 
away cities and inhabitants, spread from the 
banks of the Rhine to the Atlantic and the 
Pyrenees. Fifty years later a great portion of 
the same region was devastated with like ex- 
cesses by the Huns; and in the intervals 
between the two visitations, destructive inroads, 
or rather permanent occupations, were effected 
by the Franks and Burgundians. 


As to Italy, with Rome as a centre, its 
multiplied miseries are too familiarly known to 
require illustration. I need not enlarge upon the 
punishments inflicted on it by German, Goth, 
Vandal, Hun, and Byzantine, who in those 
same centuries overspread the country, or upon 
the destruction of cities, villas, monasteries, of 
every place where literature might be stored, 
or civilization transmitted to posterity. Bar- 
barians occupied the broad lands of nobles 
and senators ; mercenary bands infested its roads, 
and tyrannized in its towns and its farms ; even 
the useful arts were gradually forgotten, and the 
ruins of its cities sufficed for the remnant of its 
citizens. Such was the state of things, when, 
after the gleam of prosperity and hope which 
accompanied the Gothic ascendency, the Lom- 
bards came down in the age of St. Gregory, 
a more fatal foe than any before, to complete 
the desolation of the garden of Europe. 

Encompassed then by such calamities, present 
and hereditary, through such a succession of 
centuries and in such a multitude of countries, 
where should the Roman Pontiff look for a 
refuge of learning, sacred and profane, when 
the waters were out all over the earth? What 


place shall lie prepare, what people shall he 
choose, with a view to a service, the more 
necessary in proportion as it was difficult? I 
know where it must be; doubtless in the old 
citadel of science, wliich hitherto had been safe 
from the spoiler, — in Alexandria. The city and 
country of the Ptolemies was inviolate as yet; 
the Huns had stopped on its eastern, the 
Vandals at its western boundary; and though 
Athens and Rhodes, Carthage and Madaura, 
Cordova and Lerida, Marseilles and Bourdeaux, 
Rheims and Milan, had been overrun by the 
barbarian, yet the Museum, the greatest of all 
schools, and the Serapeum, the largest of all 
libraries, had recovered from the civil calamities 
which had pressed upon them in a past century, 
and were now far away from the Lombard, who 
was the terror of the age. It would have been 
a plausible representation in the age of St, 
Gregory and his immediate successors, if human 
Avisdom had been their rule of judgment, that 
they must strengthen their alliance, since they 
could not with ambitious and schismatical 
Constantinople, at least with Alexandria. Yet 
to Alexandria they did not turn, and in fact, 
before another century had passed, Alexandria 


itself was taken, and her library burned by 
an enemy, more hostile to religion, if not to 
philosophy, even than the Lombard. The in- 
stinctive sagacity of Popes, when troubled 
about the prospective fortunes of the human 
race, did not look for a place of refuge to a city 
which had done great services to science and 
literature in its day, but was soon to fall for ever. 
The weak and contemptible things of this 
world are destined to bring to nought and to 
confound the strong and noble. High up in the 
North, above the continent of Europe, lay two 
sister islands, ample in size, happy in soil and 
climate, and beautiful in the face of the country. 
Alas ! that the passions of man should alienate 
from one another, those whom nature and reli- 
gion had bound together! So far away were 
they from foreign foes, that one of them the bar- 
barians had never reached, and though a solitary 
wave of their invasion had. passed over the 
other, it was not destined to be followed by a 
second for some centuries. In those days the 
larger of the two was called Britannia, the lesser 
Hibernia. The latter was then the seat of a 
flourishing Church, abounding in the fioiits of 
sanctity, learning, and zeal ; the former, at least 


its southern half, had formed part of the Em- 
pire, had partaken both of its civiHzation and 
its Christianity, but had lately been occupied, 
with the extermination of its population, by the 
right wing of the great barbaric host which 
was overrunning Europe. I need but allude to 
a well-known history ; we all recollect how some 
of those pagan invaders of Britain appeared for 
sale in the slave-market at Rome, and were 
taken as samples of their brethren by the great 
Saint so often mentioned in these pages, who 
succeeded at length in buying the whole race, 
not for any human master, but for Christ. 

St. Gregory, who, amid his troubles at Rome, 
engaged in this sacred negociation, was led by 
his charity towards a particular people to do a 
deed which resulted in surpassing benefits on the 
whole of Christendom. Here lay the answer 
to the prayers and questionings of himself and 
other holy Popes, and the solution of the great 
problem which had so anxiously perplexed their 
minds. The old world was to pass away, and 
its wealth and wisdom with it; but these two 
islands were to be the storehouse of the past and 
the birthplace of the future. A divine purpose 
ruled his act of love towards the Anglo-Saxon 


race; or, if we ascribe it to the special pre- 
science proper to Popes, tlien we may say that it 
was inspired by what he saw already realized in 
his own day^ in the instance of the remarkable 
people planted from time immemorial on the sister 
island. For the Celt, it cannot be denied, prece- 
ded the Anglo-Saxon, not only in his Christianity, 
but in his cultivation and custody of learning, 
religious and secular, and again in his special 
zeal for its propagation; and St. Gregory, in 
evangelizing England, was but following the ex- 
ample of St. Celestine. Let us on this point hear 
the words of an historian, who has high claims 
on the respect and gratitude of this generation : — 
" During the sixth and seventh centuries", 
says Dr. Dollinger, " the Church of Ireland 
stood in the full beauty of its bloom. The 
spirit of the gospel operated amongst the people 
with a vigorous and vivifying power ; troops of 
holy men, from the highest to the lowest ranks 
of society, obeyed the counsel of Christ, and 
forsook all things, that they might follow Him. 
There was not a country of the world, during 
this period, which could boast of pious founda- 
tions or of religious communities equal to those 
that adorned this far distant island. Among the 


Irisli, the doctrines of tlie Christian Religion 
were preserved pure and entire; the names of 
heresy or of schism were not known to them ; 
and in the Bishop of Rome they acknowledged 
and venerated the Supreme Head of the Church 
on earth, and continued with him, and through 
him with the whole Church, in a never inter- 
rupted communion. The schools in the Irish 
cloisters were at this time the most celebrated in 
all the West; and in addition to those which 
have been ah-eady mentioned, there flourished 
the Schools of St. Finian of Clonard, founded 
in 530, and those of Cataldus, founded in 640. 
Whilst almost the whole of Europe was deso- 
lated by war, peaceful Ireland, free from the in- 
vasions of external foes, opened to the lovers 
of learning and piety a welcome asylum. The 
strangers, who visited the island, not only from 
the neijrhbourincf shores of Britain, but also 
from the most remote nations of the Continent, 
received from the Irish people the most hos- 
pitable reception, a gratuitous entertainment, 
free instruction, and even the books that were 
necessary for their studies. Thus in the year 
536, in the time of St. Senanus, there arrived at 
Cork from the Continent, fifteen monks, who 


were led thither by their desire to perfect them- 
selves in the practices of an ascetic life under 
Irish directors, and to study the Sacred Scrip- 
tures in the school established near that city. 
At a later period, after the year 650, the Anglo- 
Saxons in particular passed over to Ireland in 
great numbers for the same laudable purposes. 
On the other hand, many holy and learned 
Irishmen left their own country to proclaim the 
faith, to establish or to reform monasteries in 
distant lands, and thus to become the benefactors 
of almost every nation in Europe". 

Such was St. Columba, who is the Apostle 
of the Northern Picts in the sixth century; 
such St. Fridolin in the beginning of the same 
century, who, after long labours in France, 
established himself on the Rhine ; such the far- 
famed Columbanus, who, at its end, was sent 
with twelve of his brethren to preach in France, 
Burgundy, Switzerland, and Lombardy, where 
he died. All these OTcat acts and encouraginor 
events had taken place, ere yet the Anglo- 
Saxon race was converted to the faith, or at 
least while it was still under education for its 
own part in extending it; and thus in the con- 
temporary or previous labours, of the Irish the 


Pope found an encouragement, as time went on, 
boldly to prosecute that conversion and educa- 
tion of the English, which was beginning with 
such good promise, — and not only by the labours 
of the Irish elsewhere, for they themselves, as 
the writer I have quoted intimates, took a fore- 
most part in the very work. 

"The foundation of many of the English sees", 
he says, " is due to Irishmen ; the Northumbrian 
diocese was for many years governed by them, 
and the abbey of Lindisfarne, which was peopled 
by Irish monks and their Saxon disciples, spread 
far around it its all-blessing influence. These 
holy men served God and not the world ; they 
possessed neither gold nor silver, and all that 
they received from the rich, passed through 
their hands into the hands of the poor. Kings 
and nobles visited them from time to time, only 
to pray in their churches, or to listen to their 
sermons; and as long as they remained in the 
cloisters, they were content with the humble 
food of the brethren. Wherever one of these 
ecclesiastics or monks came, he was received 
by all with joy; and whenever he was seen 
journeying across the country, the people 
streamed around him to implore his benedic- 


tion and to hearken to his words. The priests en- 
tered the villages only to preach or to administer 
the sacraments; and so free were they from 
avarice, that it was only when compelled by 
the rich and noble, that they would accept 
lands for the erection of monasteries. Thus 
has Bede described the Irish bishops, priests, 
and monks of Northumbria, although so dis- 
pleased with their custom of celebrating Easter. 
Many Anglo-Saxons passed over to Ireland, 
where they received a most hospitable reception 
in the monasteries and schools. In crowds, 
numerous as bees, as Aldhelm writes, the 
English went to Ireland, or the Irish visited 
England, where the Archbishop Theodore was 
surrounded by Irish scholars. Of the most 
celebrated Ango-Saxon scholars and saints, many 
had studied in Ireland; among these were St. 
Egbert, the author of the first Anglo-Saxon 
mission to the pagan continent, and the blessed 
Willebrod, the Apostle of the Frieslanders, who 
had resided twelve years in Ireland. From the 
same abode of virtue and of learning, came 
forth two English priests, both named Ewald, 
who in 690, went as messengers of the gospel to 
the German Saxons, and received from them 


the crown of martyrdom. An Irisliman, Mail- 
duf, founded, in the year 670, a school, which 
afterwards grew into the famed Abbey of Mal- 
mesbury; among his scholars was St. Aldhelm, 
afterwards Abbot of Malmesbury, and first 
bishop of Sherburne or Salisbury, and whom, 
after two centuries, Alfred pronounced to be the 
best of the Anglo-Saxon poets". 

The seventh and eighth centuries are the glory 
of the Anglo-Saxon Church, as are the sixth 
and seventh of the Irish. As the Irish mission- 
aries travelled down through England, France, 
and Switzerland, to lower Italy, and attempted 
Germany at the peril of their lives, converting 
the barbarian, restoring the lapsed, encourag- 
ing the desolate, collecting the scattered, and 
founding churches, schools, and monasteries, 
as they went along; so, amid the deep pagan 
woods of Germany and round about, the English 
Benedictine plied his axe and drove his plough, 
planted his rude dwelling and raised his rustic 
altar upon the ruins of idolatry, and then 
settling down as a colonist upon the soil, 
began to sing his chants and to copy his old 
volumes, and thus to lay the slow but sure 
foundations of the new civilization. Distinct, 


nay antagonistic, in character and talent, the 
one nation and the other, Irish and EngHsh, 
the one more resembling the Greek, the other 
the Roman, open from the first perhaps to 
jealousies as well as rivalries, they consecrated 
their respective gifts to the Almighty Giver, 
and, labouring together for the same great end, 
they obliterated whatever there was of human in- 
firmity in their mutual intercourse by the merit 
of their common achievements. Each by turn 
could claim preeminence in the contest of sanc- 
tity and of learning. In the schools of science 
England has no name to rival Erigena in origin- 
ality, or St. Virgil in freedom of thought ; nor 
among its canonized women any saintly virgin 
to compare vdth St. Bridget; nor, although it 
has 150 saints in its calendar, can it pretend to 
equal that Irish multitude which the Book of 
Life alone is large enough to contain. Nor can 
Ireland, on the other hand, boast of a Doctor 
such as St. Bede, or of an Apostle equal to St. 
Boniface, or of a Martyr like St. Thomas, — or of 
a list of royal devotees so extended as that of the 
thirty male or female Saxons, who in the course 
of two centuries resigned their crowns, — or as 

the roU of twenty-three kings, and sixty queens 



and princes, who, between the seventh and the 
eleventh centuries, gained a place among the 
saints. Yet, after all, the Irish, whose brilliancy 
of genius has sometimes been considered, like 
the Greek, to augur fickleness and change, have 
managed to persevere to this 'day in the science 
of the saints, long after their ancient rivals have 
lost the gift of faith. 

But I am not writing a history of the Church, 
nor of England or Ireland; but tracing the 
fortunes of literature. When Charlemagne arose 
upon the Continent, the special mission of the 
two islands was at an end; and accordingly 
Ragnor Lodbrog with his Danes began his de- 
scents upon their coasts. Yet they were not 
superseded, till they had formally handed over 
the tradition of learning to the schools of 
France, and had written their immortal names 
on one and the same page of history. The 
Anglo-Saxon Alcuin was the first Rector, and 
the Irish Clement the second, of the Studium 
of Paris. In the same age the Irish John was 
sent to found the school of Pavia; and, when 
the heretical Claudius of Turin exulted over 
the ignorance of the devastated Churches of the 
Continent, and called the Synod of Bishops, 


who summoned him, " a congregation of asses", 
it was no other than the Irish Dungall, a monk 
of St. Denis, who met and overthrew the pre- 
sumptuous railer. 




Detachment, as we know from spiritual books, 
is a rare and high Christian virtue; a great 
Saint, St. Philip Neri, said that, if he had a 
dozen really detached men, he should be able to 
convert the world. To be detached is to be 
loosened from every tie which binds the soul to 
the earth, to be dependent on nothing sublunary, 
to lean on nothing temporal ; it is to care simply 
nothing what other men choose to think or say 
of us, or do to us ; to go about our own work, 
because it is our duty, as soldiers go to battle, 
without a care for the consequences ; to account 
credit, honour, name, easy circumstances, com- 
fort, human affections, just nothing at all, when 
any religious obligation involves the sacrifice of 
them. It is to be as reckless of all these goods 
of life on such occasions, as under ordinary cir- 
cumstances we are lavish and wanton, if I must 


take an example, in our use of water, — or as we 
make a present of our words without grudging to 
friend or stranger, — or as we get rid of wasps or 
flies or gnats, wliich trouble us, without any sort 
of compunction, without hesitation before the 
act, and without a second thought after it. 

Now this " detachment " is one of the special 
ecclesiastical virtues of the Popes. They are of 
all men most exposed to the temptation of secu- 
lar connexions ; and, as history tells us, they have 
been of all men least subject to it. By their 
very office they are brought across every form of 
earthly power ; for they have a mission to high 
as well as low, and it is on the high, and not the 
low, that their maintenance ordinarily depends. 
Caasar ministers to Christ; the framework of 
society, itself a divine ordinance, receives such 
important aid from the sanction of religion, that 
it is its interest in turn to uphold religion, and to 
enrich it with temporal gifts and honours. Or- 
dinarily speaking, then, the Roman Pontiffs owe 
their exaltation to the secular power, and have 
a great stake in its stability and prosperity. 
Under such circumstances, any men but they 
would have had a strong leaning towards what is 
called " Conservatism" ; and they have been, and 




Detachment, as we know from spiritual books, 
is a rare and high Christian virtue; a great 
Saint, St. Philip Neri, said that, if he had a 
dozen really detached men, he should be able to 
convert the world. To be detached is to be 
loosened from every tie which binds the soul to 
the earth, to be dependent on nothing sublunary, 
to lean on nothing temporal ; it is to care simply 
nothing what other men choose to think or say 
of us, or do to us ; to go about our own work, 
because it is our duty, as soldiers go to battle, 
without a care for the consequences ; to account 
credit, honour, name, easy circumstances, com- 
fort, human affections, just nothing at all, when 
any religious obligation involves the sacrifice of 
them. It is to be as reckless of all these goods 
of life on such occasions, as under ordinary cir- 
cumstances we are lavish and wanton, if I must 


take an example, in our use of water, — or as we 
make a present of our words without grudging to 
friend or stranger, — or as we get rid of wasps or 
flies or gnats, wMcli trouble us, without any sort 
of compunction, without hesitation before the 
act, and without a second thought after it. 

Now this " detachment " is one of the special 
ecclesiastical virtues of the Popes. They are of 
all men most exposed to the temptation of secu- 
lar connexions ; and, as history tells us, they have 
been of all men least subject to it. By their 
very office they are brought across every form of 
earthly power ; for they have a mission to high 
as well as low, and it is on the high, and not the 
low, that their maintenance ordinarily depends. 
Caesar ministers to Christ; the framework of 
society, itself a divine ordinance, receives such 
important aid from the sanction of religion, that 
it is its interest in turn to uphold religion, and to 
enrich it with temporal gifts and honours. Or- 
dinarily speaking, then, the Roman Pontiffs owe 
their exaltation to the secular power, and have 
a great stake in its stability and prosperity. 
Under such circumstances, any men but they 
would have had a strong leaning towards what is 
called " Conservatism" ; and they have been, and 


lieve the hungry or to redeem the captives by the 
sums which it brought them. And this proceed- 
ing was not unfrequently urged against them in 
their day as a great offence ; but the Church has 
always justified them. Here we see, as in a 
typical instance, both the dangerous Conserva- 
tism, of which I am speaking, and its righteous 
repudiation. It is an over-attachment to the 
ecclesiastical establishment, as such ; — to the seats 
of its power, to its holy places, its sanctuaries, 
churches, and palaces, — to its various national 
hierarchies, with their several prescriptions, pri- 
vileges, and possessions, — to traditional lines of 
policy, precedent, and discipline, — to rules and 
customs of long standing. But a great Pontiff 
must be detached from everything save the 
deposit of faith, the tradition of the Apostles, 
and the vital principles of the divine polity. 
He may use, he may uphold, he may and will 
be very slow to part with, a hundred things 
which have grown up, or taken shelter, or are 
stored, under the shadow of the Church ; but, at 
bottom, and after all, he will be simply de- 
tached from pomp and etiquette, secular rank, 
secular learning, schools and libraries. Basilicas 
and Gothic cathedrals, old ways, old alliances. 


and old friends. He will be rightly jealous of 
their loss, but still he will " know nothing but " 
Him whose Vicar he is ; he will not stake his 
fortunes, he will not rest his cause, upon any one 
else: — this is what he will do, and what he will 
not do, as in fact the great Popes of history have 
shown, in their own particular instances, on so 
many and various occasions. 

Take the early Martyr-Popes, or the Gregories 
and the Leos ; whether they were rich or poor, 
in power or in persecution, they were simply 
detached from every earthly thing save the Rock 
of Peter. This was their adamantine foundation, 
their starting-point in every enterprise, their 
refuge in every calamity, the point of leverage 
by which they moved the world. Secure in 
this, they have let other things come and go, as 
they would ; or have deliberately made light of 
what they had, in order that they might gain 
what they had not. They have known, in the 
fulness of an heroic faith, that, while they were 
true to themselves and to their divinely appointed 
position, they could not but " inherit the earth", 
and that, if they lost ground here, it was only to 
make progress elsewhere. Old men usually get 
fond of old habits ; they cannot imagine, under- 


stand, relish any thing to which thej are not 
accustomed. The Popes have been old men; 
but, wonderful to say, they have never been slow 
to venture out upon a new line, when it was 
necessary, and had ever been looking about, 
sounding, exploring, taking observations, recon- 
noitring, attempting, even when there was no 
immediate reason why they should not let well 
alone, as the world would say, or even when they 
were hampered with difficulties at their door so 
great, that you would think that they had no 
time or thought to spare for anything in the 
distance. It is but a few years ago that a man of 
eighty, of humble origin, the most conservative 
of Popes, as he was considered, with disaffi^ction 
and sedition upheaving his throne, was found to 
be planning missions for the interior of Africa, 
and, when a moment's opportunity was given 
him, made the most autocratical of Emperors, 
the very hope of Conservatives, the very terror 
of Catholics, quail beneath his glance. And, 
thus independent of times and places, the Popes 
have never found any difficulty, when the 
proper moment came, of following out a new and 
daring line of policy (as their astonished foes 
have called it), of leaving the old world to shift 


for itself and to disappear from the scene in its 
due season, and of fastening on and establishing 
themselves in the new. 

I am led to this line of thought by St. Gregory's 
behaviour to the Anglo-Saxon race, on the break- 
up of the old civilization. I am not mentioning 
our people for their own sake, but because they 
furnish an instance of that remarkable trait in the 
character of Popes, of which I have been speak- 
ing. One would have thought that in the age of 
St. Gregory, a Pope had enough to do in living 
on from day to day, without troubling himself 
about the future ; that, with the Lombard at his 
doors, he would not have had spirit to set about 
converting the English; and that, if he was 
anxious about the preservation of learning, he 
would have looked elsewhere than to the Isles 
of the North, for its refuge in the evil day. 
Why, I repeat, was it not easier, safer, and 
more feasible for him to have made much of 
the prosperous, secure, and long estabHshed 
schools of Alexandria, when the enemy went 
about plundering and burning? He was not 
indeed on the best terms with Constantinople ; 
Antioch was exposed to other enemies, and had 
suffered from them already; but Alexandria 


was not only learned and protected, but was 
a special ally of the Holy See ; yet Alexandria 
was put aside for England and Ireland. 

With what pertinacity of zeal does Gregory 
send his missionaries to England ! with what an 
appetite he waits for the tidings of their pro- 
gress ! with what a relish he dwells over the good 
news, when they are able to send it ! He wrote 
back to Augustine in words of triumph: — 
"'Gloria in excelsis Deo'", he says, '"et in terra 
pax hominibus bonae voluntatis !' for the Grain 
of corn died and was buried in the earth, that 
It might reign with a great company in 
Heaven, — by whose death we live, by whose 
weakness we are strengthened, by whose suf- 
ferings we escape suflfering, by whose love we 
are seeking in Britain brothers whom we know 
not of, by whose gift we find those whom, not 
knowing, we were seeking. Who can describe 
the joy, which was caused in the hearts of all 
the faithfiil here, on the news that the English 
nation, by the operation of the grace of the 
Omnipotent God, and by your labours, my 
brother, had been rescued from the shades of 
error and overspread with the light of holy 
faith ! If on one penitent there is great joy in 


heaven, what, think we, does it become, when a 
whole people has turned from its error, and has 
betaken itself to faith, and condemned the evil 
it has done by repenting of the doing ! Where- 
fore in this joy of Heaven and Angels, let 
me say once more the very Angels' words, 
' Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax homini- 
biis bonas voluntatis' ". 

What were these outer barbarians to Gre- 
gory? how could they relieve him or profit 
him? What compensation could they make 
for what the Church was then losing, or might 
lose in future? Yet he corresponds with their 
king and queen, urges them to complete what 
they had so happily begun, reminds Bertha of 
St. Helena, and what Helena did for the 
Romans, and Ethelbert, of the great Constan- 
tine; informs them of the satisfaction which 
their conversion had given to the Imperial 
Court at Constantinople, and sends them sacred 
presents from the Apostle Peter. Nay he cannot 
keep fi-om talking of these savages, apropos of 
anything whatever, for they have been running 
in his head from the day he first saw them in 
the slave market; and he makes the learned 
Church of Alexandria the special partner of 


his joy upon this contemptible victory. The 
Patriarch Eulogius had been telling him of his 
own success in reclaiming the heretics of Alex- 
andria, and he sends him a piece of good news 
in return: — "As I am well aware", he says, 
" that, in the midst of your own good deeds, 
you rejoice in those of others, I will repay you 
for the kindness of your tidings by telling you 
something of the same sort". And then he 
goes on to speak of the conversion of the 
English, " who are situated in a corner of the 
world", as if their gain was comparable to that 
of the educated and wealthy persons whom 
Eulogius had been reconciling to the Church. 
Nay, lest he should take too much credit for 
his success, and grow vain upon it, he attributes 
it to the prayers of the Alexandrians, or at least 
of their Bishop, all that way off, as if the Angles 
and Jutes were anything to the city of the 
Ptolemies ! " On Christmas Day", he says, 
" more than 10,000 of them were baptized. I 
tell you of it, that you may know, that, while 
your words avail for your own people, your 
prayers avail for the ends of the earth. For you 
are by prayer where you are not, while you mani- 
fest yourself by holy labours where you are". 


Time went on, and the Popes showed less 
and less disposition to cling to past associations, 
or to confide in existing establishments, or to 
embarrass themselves in political engagements. 
When they were in trouble, their old friends 
could not, or would not, help them. Rome was 
almost deserted ; no throng of pilgrims moimted 
the threshold of the Apostles; no students 
flocked to the schools. The Pope sat in the 
Lateran desolate, till fit length news was brought 
him that one foreigner had made his appearance. 
Whence did he come? from the north; from 
beyond the sea ; he was one of those barbarians 
whom his Holiness's predecessor, Gregory of 
blessed memory, had converted. The pilgrim 
came, and he went. An interval, and then, I 
think, a second pilgrim-student came ; and who 
was he? Why, he was an Englishman too. A 
fact to remember ! one of these young barba- 
rians is worth a thousand of those time-servers 
of Constantinople. Our predecessor must have 
acted under some special guidance, when, at the 
beginning of this century, he set his heart upon 
the worshippers of Thor and Woden! So, 
when a vacancy occurs in the see of Canter- 
bury, Pope Vitalian • determines to place in it 


a man of his own choosing, one whom so faithful 
a people deserves. The Irish, says the Pope, 
have done much for England, but teachers it 
still needs. Moreover, local teaching, even the 
best, and though saints be its organs, is apt to 
have something in it of local flavour, and needs 
from time to time to be refreshed from the 
founts of apostolical tradition. We will pick 
out, says he, the best specimens of learning and 
science, which the length and breadth of south- 
em Christendom can furnish, and send them 
thither, uniting the excellence of different lands, 
under the immediate sanction of Rome. In this 
eclecticism, he did but follow St. Gregory him- 
self, who, when Augustine represented to him, 
that, while faith was one, customs were so various, 
made answer, " I wish that, wherever you find 
anything especially pleasing to Almighty God, 
whether in the Roman, or Gallic, or any other 
Church, you would be at pains to select it, 
and introduce it into the English Church, as 
yet new in the faith". 

This line of proceeding in ecclesiastical 
matters was carried on by Vitalian into the pro- 
vince of learning. The Greek colonies of 
Syria and Asia Minor, and the Roman settle- 


ments upon the African coast, had been, almost 
from their first formation, flourishing schools of 
education; and now that they were perishing 
under the barbarism of the Saracens, they were 
abandoned, by such professors and students as 
remained, for the cities of Italy. In a convent 
near Naples lived Adrian, an African ; at Rome 
there was a monk, named Theodore, from Tarsus 
in Cilicia; both of them were distinguished for 
their classical, as well as their ecclesiastical at- 
tainments; and while Theodore had been edu- 
cated in Greek usages, Adrian represented the 
more congenial and suitable traditions of the 
West. Of these two, Theodore, at the age of 
sixty-six, was made Primate of England, while 
Adrian Avas placed at the head of the monastery 
of Canterbury. Passing through France, in 
their way to their post of duty, they delayed 
there a while at the command of the Pope, to 
accustom themselves to the manners of the 
North ; and at length they made their appear- 
ance in England, with a collection of books, 
Greek classics, and Gregorian chants, and what- 
ever other subjects of study may be considered 
to fill up the interval between those two. They 

then proceeded to found schools of secular, as 



well as of sacred learning throughout the south 
of the island ; and we are assured by St. Bede, 
that many of their scholars were as well ac- 
quainted with Latin and Greek, as with their 
native tongue. One of these schools in Wilt- 
shire, as the legend goes, was, on that account, 
called " Greeklade", since corrupted into Crick- 
lade, and, migrating afterwards to Oxford, was 
one of the first elements of its University. 
Meanwhile, one of those Saxon pilgrims, who 
had been so busy at Rome, having paid, it is 
said, as many as five visits to the Apostles, 
went up to the north of the country. Before 
the coming of the foreign teachers, Benedict 
Biscop had been Abbot of Canterbury; but, 
making way for Adrian, he took himself and 
his valuable library, the fruit of his travels, 
to Wearmouth in Northumberland, where he 
founded a Church and monastery. 

These details are not out of place in the 
history of Universities; but I introduce them 
here as illustrating a point, much to be re- 
marked, in the character of the Popes. It is 
a common observation of Protestants, that, 
curiously enough, the Holy See is weakest at 
home when it is strongest abroad, and they 


derive some consolation to themselves, I do not 
know what, from the fact. So it is ; this weak- 
ness is an alleviation of the annoyance which 
they feel at the sight of a world succumbing to 
the See of Peter. They say, that after all, if the 
world has its mortifications, Peter, on the other 
hand, has his discomforts too. True, the gates 
of hell do not prevail against him, but then he 
is driven about from place to place, thrown into 
prison, and, if he escapes the sword of Herod, 
it is only that Nero may inflict upon him the 
more cruel death of crucifixion. What then 
is Peter's but a hollow power, which profits the 
possessor nothing, though it be ecumenical? 
Does it secure him health, strength, wealth, 
comfort, ease, that he is revered by millions 
whom he never saw? He inherits the earth, 
but is not certain of a roof to sleep under, or a 
grave to be buried in. How is he better off, 
because his name is mentioned in Mass in the 
Brazils, and his briefs are read in the Churches 
of Cochin China? 

This taunt does but supply a boast to the 
Catholic, and has a moral for the philosopher. 
Certainly Popes are unlike any other old and 
infirm men that ever were. To clutch at what 


is within tlieir reach, to keep tight hold of what 
they have, to believe what they see, to care that 
things should last their own time, to let posterity 
shift for itself, to hate disturbance and turmoil, 
to compound for present peace, to be sceptical 
about improvements, to be averse to new plans,^ 
in a word, to live in sense, not in imagination, 
is the characteristic of old statesmen, old 
lawyers, and old traders. They cannot throw 
their minds into new ideas ; they cannot realize 
the views of others; they cannot move out of 
their lifelong position, nor advance one inch 
towards any other. Were such a person, — 
sound, safe, sensible, sagacious, experienced, — at 
the elbow of Pope Gregory, or his successors of 
the seventh century, he would have advised 
him to fall back upon Constantinople, to come 
to an understanding with the Imperial Court, 
to link his fortunes with those of an effete civi- 
lization, and to allow the encroachments of an 
ambitious hierarchy ; as to Franks, and Frisons, 
and Westphalians, and Saxons, and Burgun- 
dians, and Visigoths, and Scots, to leave them 
to themselves. I need not take an imaginary 
instance; not many years have passed since 
a Nwicio of the Holy See passed through Eng- 


land in his way from Portugal to Rome, and 
had an interview with a great warrior now no 
more, a man of preternatural sagacity in his 
own sphere of thought, — which was not Ca- 
tholic and divine. When the ecclesiastic in 
question asked the great man's advice what 
Pope Gregory's policy should be, the Duke 
abruptly replied, " Let him catch hold of the 
coat-tail of Austria, and hang on as hard as he 
can". Yes, and the able statesmen of each age 
would have said the same to Gregory the First, 
the Second, the Third, and the Seventh, as well 
as to Gregory the Sixteenth, — to Julius, Sil- 
verian, and Martin ; they would have counselled 
the Vicar of Christ a safe and pleasant course, 
" fallentis semita vita^", which would have ended 
in some uninhabitable desert, or some steep pre- 
cipice, far from the haunts of man. 

When Pius the Ninth, foiled in his attempt 
to better the civil condition of his states, from 
the worthlessness both of his materials and his 
instruments, was a fugitive and exile at Gaeta, 
the Protestant public jeered and mocked at him, 
as one whose career was over and whose candle 
was put out. Yet he has but supplied a fresh 
and the latest instance, later ^here cannot be, 


of the heroic detachment of Popes, and has 
carried down the tradition of St. Peter into the 
age of railroads and newspapers. But we are 
entering upon a new part of the subject, which 
our present limits will not admit, and which we 
cannot perhaps treat without freedom. 




A GREAT personage, within the last fifteen years, 
sent liis advice to the Pope to make sure of the 
coat-tail of Austria, and hold on. Austria is a 
great and a religious power; she inherits the 
prerogatives of the German Empire and the 
titles of the Caesars. There must ever be rela- 
tions of a very peculiar kind between the Holy 
See and the Holy Roman Empire. Never- 
theless, when the time came for taking ad- 
vantage of his advice, the Pope did just the 
reverse. He made light of this master of poli- 
tical wisdom, and showed his independence of 
Austria; — not that he did not honour Austria, 
but that he honoured the Rock of Peter more. 
And what has been the consequence? he has 
simply gained by his fidelity to his position. 
Austria has been far more truly the friend and 
protector, the child and servant of the Pope 
tlian before; she has repealed the Josephine 


statutes, so injurious to the Church, and has 
opened her territories to the full religious in- 
fluences of the Holy See. Here is an instance 
of what I have called " ecclesiastical detach- 
ment", and of its working. 

Again, a revolution breaks out in Europe, 
and a deep scheme is laid to mix up the Pope 
in secular politics of a contrary character. He 
is to be the head of Italy, to range himself 
against the sovereigns of Europe, and to carry 
all things before him in the name of Religion. 
He steadily refuses to accept the insidious pro- 
posal; and at length he is driven out of his 
dominions, because, while he would ameliorate 
their condition, he would do so as a Father and 
a Prince, and not as the tool of a conspiracy. 
However, not many months pass, and the party 
of disorder is defeated, and he goes back to 
Rome again. Rome is his place ; but it is little 
to him whether he is there or away, compared 
with the duty of fidelity to his Trust. 

Once more, the power which restores him 
to his country, presumes ; and insists upon his 
modelling his temporal polity upon the uneccle- 
siastical principles of a foreign code. France, 
too, as Austria, is a great Catholic power; the 


eldest born of the Church; the representative 
of the coming civilization, as Austria is the heir 
of the past ; but France was not likely to gain 
for the Code of a dead Emperor, what that 
Emperor, in the plenitude of his living genius 
and authority, could not compass for it. The 
Pope refuses to subject himself to France, as he 
had refused to subject himself to Austria ; and 
what is the consequence ? It is the old story ; a 
new Emperor arises, with the name, and without 
the religious shortsightedness, of his great prede- 
cessor. He has the wisdom to run a race with 
Austria in doing honour to the Church, and 
France professes Catholicity with an ardour un- 
known to her since the reign of Louis the 

These are times of peculiar difficulty and 
delicacy for the Church. It is not as in the 
middle ages, or as in the ante-Nicene period, 
when right and wrong were boldly marked out, 
and there was a broad line between them, and 
little chance of mistaking one for the other. In 
such times detachment was another name for 
faith; it was scarcely a virtue, substantive and 
sui generis; for attachment to any temporal 
possession or advantage then was practically 


nothing else than apostasy. Things are other- 
wise now; it has not, therefore, fallen to the 
lot of many Popes, to have such opportunities 
as Pius the Ninth, of resisting temptation, of re- 
signing himself to the political weakness incident 
to the Holy See, of falling back calmly upon its 
traditionary principles, of rejecting the argu- 
ments for innovating upon its true position, and 
in consequence of attaining so rapid a triumph 
after deplorable reverses. When Pius was at 
Gaeta and Portici, the world laughed on hear- 
ing that he was giving his attention to the 
theological bearings of the doctrine of the Im- 
maculate Conception. Little fancying what 
various subject-matters fall all at once under a 
Pope's contemplation, and are successively carried 
out into effect, as circumstances require; little 
dreaming of the intimate connexion of these 
matters with each other, even when they seem 
most heterogeneous ; or that a belief touching the 
Blessed Virgin might have any influence upon 
the fortunes of the Holy See; the wise men 
of the day concluded from the Pope's EncycHcal 
about that doctrine, that he had, what they 
called, given up politics in disgust, and had 
become a harmless devotee or a trifling school- 


divine. But soon they heard of other acts of 
the Holy Father ; they heard of his interposition 
in the East; of his success in Spain; of his 
vigilant eye directed towards Sardinia and 
Switzerland in his own neighbourhood, and 
towards North and South America in another 
liemisphere ; of his preachers spreading through 
Germany ; of his wonderful triumphs, already 
noticed, in Austria and France ; of his children 
rising as if out of the very earth in England ; 
and of their increasing moral strength in Ire- 
land, in proportion to her extraordinary suf- 
ferings; of the hierarchies of England and 
Holland, and of the struggle going forward on 
the Rhine ; and then they exchanged contempt 
for astonishment and indignation, saying that it 
was intolerable that a potentate who could not 
keep his own, and whose ease and comfort at 
home were not worth a month's purchase, should 
be so blind to his own interests as to busy him- 
self with the fortunes of Religion at the ends of 
the earth. 

And an additional feeling arose, which it is 
more to our purpose to dwell upon. They were 
not only angry, but they began to fear. It may 


strike one at first with surprise, that, in the 
middle of the nineteenth century, in an age of 
professed light and liberality, so determined 
a spirit of persecution should have arisen, as 
we experience it, in these countries, against 
the professors of the ancient faith. Catholics 
have been startled, irritated, and depressed, at 
this unexpected occurrence; they have been 
frightened, and have wished to retrace their 
steps ; but after all, far from suggesting matter 
for alarm or despondency, it is nothing more 
or less than a confession on the part of our 
adversaries, how strong we are, and how great 
our promise. It is the expression of their 
profound misgiving that the Religion which 
existed long before theirs, it destined to live 
after it. This is no mere deduction from their 
acts ; it is their own avoVal. They have seen 
that Protestantism was all but extinct abroad; 
they have confessed that its last refuge and 
fortress was in England ; they have proclaimed 
aloud, that, if England was supine at this 
m^oment. Protestantism was gone. Twenty years 
ago England could afford, as much in contempt 
as in generosity, to grant to Catholics political 


emancipation.* Forty or fifty years ago it was 
a common belief in her religious circles, that the 
great Emperor, with whom she was at war, 
was raised up to annihilate the Popedom. But 
from the very grave of Pius the Sixth, and 
from the prison of Pius the Seventh, from 
the very moment that they had an opportunity 
of showing to the world their expertness in that 
ecclesiastical virtue of which I have said so 
much, the Catholic movement began. In pro- 
portion to the weakness of the Holy See at 
home, became its influence and its success in 
the world. The Apostles were told to be 
prudent as serpents, and simple as doves. . It 
has been the simplicity of the Sovereign Pontiffs 
which has been their prudence. It is their 
fidelity to their commission, and their detach- 
ment from all secular objects, which has given 
them the possession of the earth. 

I am not pursuing the line of thought which 
has engaged me in my last chapter and my pre- 

• It is not meant that contempt was the feeling of 
Sir Robert Peel personally, or of the government of the day, 
but of the general party advocating the measure frdm the 
time of Pitt. 


sent without a drift. It bears directly upon the 
subject which leads me to write at all ; and it has 
an important bearing, intelligible even to the his- 
torian and philosopher, so that reason and expe- 
rience will be able to extort from us, what faith 
cannot obtain. A very pagan ought to be able 
to prophesy that our University is destined for 
great things. I look back at the early combats 
of Popes Victor and Stephen ; I go on to Julius 
and Celestine, Leo and Gregory, Boniface and 
Nicholas ; I pass along the Middle Ages, down 
to Paul the Third and Pius the Fifth; and 
thence to the two Popes of the same name, 
who occupy the most eventful fifty years, since 
Christianity was; and I cannot shut my eyes 
to the fact, that the Sovereign Pontiffs have 
a gift, proper to themselves, of understanding 
what is good for the Church, and what Catholic 
interests require. And in the next place, I find 
that this gift exercises itself in an absolute 
independence of secular politics, and a detach- 
ment from every earthly and temporal advantage, 
and pursues its end by uncommon courses, and 
by unlikely instruments, and by methods of its 
own. I see that it shines the brightest, and is 
the most surprising in its results, when its 


possessors are the weakest in this world and the 
most despised; that in them are most vividly 
exemplified the Apostle's words, in the most 
beautiful and most touching of his Epistles, 
" We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that 
the excellency may be of the power of God, 
and not of us ; as needy, yet enriching many, as 
having nothing, and possessing all things". 

I get these two points of history well into 
my mind ; and then I shut my book, and look 
at the world before my eyes. I see an age 
of transition, the breaking up of the old and the 
coming in of the new ; an old system shattered 
some sixty years ago, and a new state of things 
scarcely in its rudiments as yet, to be settled 
perhaps some centuries after our time. And it 
is a special circumstance in these changes, that 
they extend beyond the historical platform of 
human affairs ; not only is Europe broken up, 
but other continents are thrown open, and the 
new organization of society aims at embracing 
the world. It is a day of colonists and emi- 
grants ; — and, what is another most pertinent con- 
sideration, the language they carry with them is 
English, which consequently, as time goes on, is 
certain, humanly speaking, to extend itself into 


every part of the world. It is already occu- 
pying the whole of North America, whence it 
threatens to descend upon South ; already is it 
the language of Australia, a country large 
enough in the course of centuries to rival 
Europe in population; already it has become 
the speech of a hundred marts of commerce, 
scattered over the East, and, even where not the 
mother tongue, it is at least the medium of inter- 
course between nations. And, lastly, though 
the people who own that language is Protes- 
tant, a race preeminently Catholic has adopted 
it, and has a share in its literature; and this 
Catholic race is, at this very time, of all tribes 
of the earth, the most fertile in emigrants both 
to the West and tlie South. These are the 
facts of the day, which we should see before our 
eyes, whether the Pope had anything to say to 
them or no. The English language and the 
Irish race are overrunning the world. 

When then I consider what an eye the 
Sovereign Pontiffs have for the future; and 
what an independence in policy and vigour in 
action have been the characteristics of their 
present representative; and what a flood of 
success, mounting higher and higher, has lifted 

P1U« TUK NIXTH. 225 

up the Ark of God from the beginning of this 
century; and then, that the Holy Father has 
definitely put his finger upon Ireland, and 
selected her soil as the seat of a great Catholic 
University, to spread religion, science, and 
learning, wherever the English language is 
spoken ; when I take all these things together, — 
I care not what others tliink, I care not what 
others do, God has no need of men, — oppose 
who will, shrink who will, I know and cannot 
doubt that a great work is begun. It is no 
great imprudence to commit oneself to a gui- 
dance which never yet has failed; nor is it 
surely irrational or fanatical to believe, that, 
whatever difiiculties or disappointments, reverses 
or delays, may be our lot in the prosecution of 
the work, its ultimate success is certain, even 
though it seem at first to fail, — just as the 
greatest measures in former times have been the 
longest in carrying out, as Athanasius triumphed 
though he passed away before Arianism, and 
Hildebrand died in exile, that his successors 
might enter into his labours. 





As nations are inscrutably brought within the 
sacred fold, and inscrutably cast without it, so 
are they used, while within it, in this way or 
that, according to the supreme will, and for the 
greater glory, of Him who has brought them 
into being from some common ancestor, and 
holds them together by unity of government or 
by traditionary ideas. One Catholic nation is 
high in the world, another low; one rises and 
expands into an Empire, another is ever in the 
position of subject or even dependent. England 
and Ireland were, in the darkest age of Christian 
history, the conservators of sacred and profane 
knowledge : not, however, for any merit of their 
own, but according to the good pleasure of their 
Maker: and, when the time came, in His 
counsels, for the revival of learning on the 
Continent, then He dispensed with their mi- 

PARIS. 227 

nistry, and put them aside. It is a remarkable 
fact, to wkich I have already alluded, that the 
appearance of the Danes oif the coasts of Eng- 
land and Ireland, the destroyers in both islands 
of religion and science, synchronizes with the 
rise of Charlemagne, the founder of modern 

Christianity, which hitherto might be con- 
sidered as a quality superinduced upon the face 
of society, now became the element, out of 
which society grew into shape and reached its 
stature. The Church had battled with the 
Roman Empire, and had eventually vanquished 
it ; but, while she succeeded in teaching it the 
new song of the Saints, she did not demand of 
it that flexibility of the organs of speech which 
only exists in the young. It was the case of an 
old man learning a foreign tongue; its figure, 
gait, attitudes, and gestures, and in like manner 
its accent, belonged to an earlier time. Up to 
the point at which a change was imperative, its 
institutions were suffered to remain just as they 
had been in paganism ; christianized just so far 
as to enable them to work christian-wise, how- 
ever cumbrously or circuitously. And as to the 
system of education in particular, I suppose the 


primary, or, as they may be better called, the 
grammar scliools, as far as they were not private 
speculations, were from first to last in the hands 
of the State: state-institutions, first of pagan, 
then of mixed education. I do not mean to say 
that there are no traces in Cliristian antiquity of 
a higher pattern of education, in which religion 
and learning were brought together, — as in the 
method of teaching which St. Basil and St. 
Gregory brought into Asia Minor from Alex- 
andria, and in the Benedictine schools of Italy ; 
but I am speaking of what the Christian Empire 
did, and again of what the Church exacted from 
it. She for the most part confined herself to 
the education of the clergy, and their ecclesias- 
tical education; the laity and secular learning 
seem to have been still, more or less, in the 
charge of the State ; — not, however, as if this 
were the best way of doing things, as the at- 
tempts I have spoken of bore testimony, but, 
because she found things in a certain state, and 
used them as best she could. Her aim was to 
make the Empire Christian, not to revolu- 
tionize it ; and, without a revolution of society, 
the typical form of a Christian polity could not 
have been given to the institutions of Rome. 

PARIS. 229 

But, when society was broken up, and had to be 
constructed over again, the case was different ; 
it would have been as preposterous, under such 
circumstances, not to build it up upon Catho- 
licity, as it would have been to attempt to do so 
before. Henceforth, as all government, so all 
education, was to be founded on Revealed Truth. 
Secular teaching was to be united to sacred; 
and the Church had the supervision both of lay 
students and of profane learning. 

The new state of things began in the Frankish 
Empire ; but it is observable how Rome after all 
strikes the key note of the movement. Charle- 
magne indeed betook himself to the two Islands 
of the North for a tradition ; Alcuin, an English- 
man, was at the head of his educational estab- 
lishments; he came to France, not with sacred 
learning only, but with profane; he set up 
schools for laity as well as clergy ; but whence 
was it that he in turn got the tradition which he 
brought ? He refers us back for it to that earlier 
age, when Theodore of Tarsus, Primate of Eng- 
land, brought with him thither from Rome the 
classics, and made Greek and Latin as familiar 
to the Anglo-Saxons as their native tongue. 
Alcuin was the scholar of Bede and Egbert; 


Egbert was educated in the York school of The- 
odore, and Bede in that of Benedict Biscop and 
of John precentor of the Vatican Basilica. Here 
was the germ of the new civilization of Europe, 
which was to join together what man had divi- 
ded, to adjust the claims of Reason and of Reve- 
lation, and to fit men for this world while it 
trained them for another. Charlemagne has the 
glory of commencing this noble work; and, 
whether his school at Paris be called a Univer- 
sity or not, he laid down principles of wliich a 
University is the result, in that he aimed at edu- 
cating all classes, and undertook all subjects of 

In the first place, however, he turned his 
attention to the Episcopal Seminaries, which 
seem to have been institutions of the earliest 
times of Christianity, though they had been in 
great measure interrupted amid the dissolution 
of society consequent upon the barbarian in- 
roads, as various passages in these Essays have 
already suggested. His restoration lasted for 
four centuries, till Universities rose in their turn, 
and indirectly interfered with the efficiency of 
the Seminaries, by absorbing them into the 
larger institution. This inconvenience was set 

PARIS. 231 

right " at a later period by the Council of Trent, 
whose wise regulations were in turn the objects 
of the jealousy of the Josephism of the last 
century, which used or rather abused the Uni- 
versity system to their prejudice. The present 
policy of the Church in most places has been to 
return to the model of the first ages and of 

To these Seminaries he added, what I have 
spoken of as his characteristic institution, gram- 
mar and public schools, as preparatory both to 
the Seminaries and to secular professions. Not 
that they were confined to grammar, for they 
recognized the trivium and quadrivium; but 
grammar, in the sense of literature, seems to 
have been the principal subject of their teaching. 
These schools were established in connexion 
with the Cathedral or the Cloister ; and they re- 
ceived ecclesiastics and the sons of the nobility, 
though not to the exclusion of the poorer class. 

Charlemagne probably did not do much more 
than this; though it was once the custom to 
represent him as the actual founder of the Uni- 
versity of Paris. But great creations are not 
perfected in a day; without doing everything 
which had to be done, he did many things, and 


opened tlie way for more. It will throw light 
upon liis position in the history of Christian edu- 
cation, to quote a passage from the elaborate 
work of Bulajus, on the University of Paris, 
though he not unnaturally claims the great 
Emperor as its founder, maintaining that he 
established, not only the grammar or public 
schools already mentioned, but the higher 
Stadia generalia. This assumption, well founded 
or not, will not make his account less instruc- 
tive, if, as I have supposed, Charlemagne cer- 
tainly introduced ideas and principles of which 
the University was the result. 

"It is observable", says Bulaeus, " that Charles, 
in seeking out masters, had in view, not merely 
the education of his own family, but of his 
subjects generally, and of all lovers of the 
Christian Religion ; and wished to be of service 
to all students and cultivators of the liberal arts. 
It is indeed certain that he sought out learned 
men and celebrated teachers from all parts of 
the world, and induced them to accept his invi- 
tation by rewards and honours, on which Alcuin 
lays great stress. ' I was well aware, my Lord 
David', he says, ' that it has been your praise- 
worthy solicitude ever to love and to extol 

PARIS. 233 

wisdom ; and to exhort all men to cultivate it, 
nay, to incite tliera by means of prizes and 
honours; and out of divers parts of the world 
to bring together its lovers as the helpers of 
your good purpose; among whom you have 
taken pains to secure even me, the meanest slave 
of that holy wisdom, from the extremest boun- 
daries of Britain'. 

" It is evident hence, that Charles's intention 
was not to found any common sort of schools, 
such, that is, as would have required only a few 
instructors, but public schools, open to all, and 
possessing all kinds of learning. Hence the ne- 
cessity of a multiplicity of Professors, who from 
their number and the remoteness of their homes 
might seem a formidable charge, not only to the 
court, or to one city, but even to his whole 
kingdom. Such is the testimony of Eginhart, 
who says : ' Charles loved foreigners and took 
great pains to support them ; so that their 
number was a real charge not to the Palace 
alone, but even to the realm. Such, however, 
was his greatness of soul, that the burden of 
them was no trouble to him, because even of 
great inconveniences the praise of mvmificence is 
a compensation'. 


" Charles had in mind to found two kinds of 
schools, less and greater. The less he placed in 
Bishops' palaces, canons' cloisters, monasteries, 
and elsewhere ; the greater, however, he estab- 
lished in places which were public, and suitable 
for public teaching ; and he intended them, not 
only for ecclesiastics, but for the nobility and 
their children, and on the other hand for poor 
scholars too; in short, for every rank, class, 
and race. 

" He seems to have had two institutions 
before his mind, when he contemplated this 
object; the first of them was the ancient schools. 
Certainly, a man of so active and inquiring a 
mind as Charles, with his intercouree with 
learned persons and his knowledge of mankind, 
must have been well aware that in former agfes 
these two kinds of schools were to be found 
everywhere; the one kind few in number, 
public, and of great reputation, possessed more- 
over of privileges, and planted in certain con- 
spicuous and central sites. Such was the Alex- 
andrian in Egypt, the Athenian in Greece; 
such, under the Roman Emperors, the schools 
of Rome, of Constantinople, of Berytus, which 
are known to have been attended by multitudes, 

PARIS. 235 

and amply privileged by Theodoslus, Justinian, 
and other princes; whereas the other kind of 
schools, which were far more numerous, were to 
be found up and down the country, in cities, 
towns, villages, and were remarkable neither 
in number of students nor in name. 

" The other pattern which was open to 
Charles was to be found in the practice of 
monasteries, if it really existed there. The 
Benedictines, from the very beginning of their 
institution, had applied themselves to the pro- 
fession of literature, and it has been their pur- 
pose to have in their houses two kinds of 
schools, a greater or a less, according to the size 
of the house; and the greater they wished to 
throw open to all students, at a time when there 
were but few laymen at all who could teach, so 
that externals, seculars, laymen, as well as 
clerics, might be free to attend them. How- 
ever, true as it was that boys, who were there 
from childhood intrusted to the monks, bound 
themselves by no vow, but could leave when 
they pleased, marry, go to court, or enter the 
army, still a great many of the cleverest of them 
were led, either by the habits which they 
acquired from their intercourse with their 


teachers, or by their persuasion, to embrace the 
monastic life. And thus, while the Church in 
consequence gained her most powerful supports, 
the State on the other hand, was wanting in 
men of judgment, learning, and experience, to 
conduct its affairs. This led very frequently to 
kings choosing monks for civil administration, 
simply because no others were to be found 
capable of undertaking it. 

" Charles then, consulting for the common 
good, made literature in a certain sense secular, 
and transplanted it from the convents to the 
royal palace ; in a word, he established in Paris 
a Universal School like that at Rome. 

" Not that he deprived Monks of the license 
to teach and profess, though he certainly limited 
it, from a clear view that that variety of 
sciences, human and profane, which secular 
academies require, is inconsistent with the pro- 
fession and devotion of ascetics; and accor- 
dingly, in conformity to the spirit of their 
institute, it was his wish that the lesser schools 
should be set up or retained in the Bishops' 
palaces and monasteries, while he prescribed the 
subjects which they were to teach. The case 
was different with the schools which are higher 

PARIS. 237 

and public, which, instead of multiplying, he 
confined to certain central and celebrated spots, 
not more than to three in his whole empire — 
Paris, and in Italy, Pavia and Bologna". 

Such certainly was the result, in which his 
reforms ended, even though they did not reach 
it; and they may be said to have directly 
tended to it, considering that it was their charac- 
teristic, in contrast with the previous schools, to 
undertake the education of laity as well as 
clergy, and secular studies as well as religious. 
But, after all, it was not in an Emperor's power, 
though he were Charlemagne, to carry into 
effect in any case, by the resources peculiar to 
himself, so great an idea as a University. Be- 
nefactors and patrons may supply the frame- 
work of a Studium Generale; but there must 
be a popular interest and sympathy, a spon- 
taneous cooperation of the many, the concur- 
rence of genius, and a spreading thirst for know- 
ledge, if it is to live. And it so happened, that, 
towards the end of the fovirth century of the 
institutions of Charlemagne, a remarkable in- 
tellectual movement took place in Christendom ; 
and to it must be ascribed the development of 
Universities, out of the public or grammar 


schools, which I have already described. No 
such movement could happen, without the rise 
of some deep and comprehensive philosophy; 
and, when it rose, then the existing Trivium 
and Quadrivium became the subjects, and the 
existing seats of learning the scene, of its vic- 
tories; and next the curiosity and enthusiasm, 
which it excited, attracted larger and larger 
numbers to places which were hitherto but local 
centres of education. Such a gathering of 
students, such a systematizing of knowledge, 
are the notes of a University. 

The increase of members and the multipli- 
cation of sciences both involved changes in the 
organization of the Schools ; and of these the in- 
crease of members was the first to modify them. 
Hitherto there had been but one governor 
over the students, who were but few at the most, 
and came from the neighbourhood; but now 
the academic body was divided into Nations, 
according to the part of Europe from which 
they joined it, and each Nation had a head oi 
its own, under the title of Procurator or Proctor. 
There were traces of this division, as we have 
seen in a former chapter, in Athens; where 
the students were arranged under the names 

PARIS. * 239 

of Attic, Oriental, Arab, and Pontic, with a 
protector for each class. In like manner, in 
the University of Paris there were four nations, 
first, the French, which included the middle 
and south of France, Spain, Italy, and Greece ; 
secondly, the English, which, besides the two 
British islands, comprehended Germany and 
Scandinavia; thirdly, the Norman; and fourthly, 
the Picards, who carried with them the inhabit- 
ants of Flanders and Brabant. -Again, in the 
University of Vienna, there were also four 
Nations, — Austria, the Rhine, Hungary, and Bo- 
hemia. Oxford recognized only two Nations; 
the north English, which comprehended the 
Scotch; and the south English, which com- 
prehended the Irish and Welsh. The Proctors 
of the Nations both governed and represented 
them ; the double office is still traceable, unless 
the recent Act of Parliament has destroyed it, 
in the modem constitution of Oxford, in which 
the two Proctors on the one hand represent the 
Masters of Arts in the Hebdomadal Board, and 
on the other have in their hands the discipline 
of the University. 

And as Nations and their Proctors arose out 
of the metropolitan character of a University, 


to which students congregated from the farthest 
and most various places, so are Faculties and 
Deans of Faculties the consequence of its ency- 
clopedic profession. According to the idea of 
the institutions of Charlemagne, each school had 
its own teacher, who was called Rector, or 
Master. In Paris, however, where the school 
was foimded in St. Genevieve's, the Chancellor 
of that Church became the Rector, and he kept 
his old title of Chancellor in his new office. 
Elsewhere the head of the University was called 
Provost. However, it was not every one who 
would be qualified to profess even the Seven 
Sciences, of which the old course of instruction 
consisted, though the teaching was only elemen- 
tary, and to become the Rector, Chancellor, or 
Provost, of the University; but, when these 
sciences became only parts of a whole system of 
instruction, which demanded in addition a 
knowledge of philosophy, scholastic theology, 
civil and canon law, medicine, natural history, 
and the Semitic languages, no one person was 
equal to the undertaking. The Rector fell 
back from the position of a teacher to that of 
a governor; and the instruction was divided 
among a board of Doctors, each of whom repre- 

PARIS. 241 

sented a special province in Science. This is 
the origin of Deans of Faculties ; and, inasmuch 
as they undertook among themselves one of 
those departments of academical duty, which 
the Chancellor or Rector had hitherto fulfilled, 
they naturally became his Council. In some 
places the Proctors of the Nations were added. 
Thus, in Vienna the Council consisted of the 
Four Deans of Faculties and the Four Proctors, 
As Nations preceded Faculties, we may sup- 
pose that degrees, which are naturally connected 
with the latter, either did not enter into the 
original provisions of a University, or had not 
the same meaning as afterwards. And this 
seems to have been the case. At first they were 
only testimonials that a resident was fit to take 
part in the public teaching of the place; and 
hence, in the Oxford forms still observed, the 
Vice-Chancellor admits the person taking a 
degree to the " lectio" of certain books. Degrees 
would not at that time be considered mere 
honours or testimonials, to be enjoyed by per- 
sons who at once left the University and mixed 
in the world. The University would only confer 
them for its own purposes; and to its own 

subjects, for the sake of its own subjects. It 



would claim nothing for them external to its 
own limits; and, if so, only used a power 
obviously connate with its own existence. But 
of course the recognition of a University by the 
State, not to say by other Universities, would 
change the import of degrees, and, since such 
recognition has commonly been granted from 
the first, degrees have seldom been only what 
they were in their original idea ; but the formal 
words by which they are denoted, still preserve 
its memory. As students on taking degrees are 
admitted "legere et disputare", so are they called 
"Magistri", that is, of the scJiools; and "Doctors", 
that is, teachers, or in some places " Professors", 
as the letters S. T. P. show, used instead of D.D. 

It will be observed that the respective dis- 
tributions into Faculties and into Nations are 
cross-divisions. Another cross-division, on which 
I shall not now enter, is into Colleges and Halls. 

I conclude by enumerating the characteristic 
distinctions, laid down by Bulajus, between the 
public or grammar schools founded by Charle- 
magne, and the Universities into which even- 
tually some of them grew, or, as he would say, 
which Charlemagne also founded. 

First, he says, they differ from each other 

PARIS. 243 

ratione disciplincB. The Scholae Minores only 
taught the Trivium and Quadrivium, the seven 
liberal Arts; whereas the Scholee Majores added 
Medicine, Law, and Theology. 

Next, ratione loci; for the Minores were many 
and everywhere, but the Majores only in great 
cities, and few in number. I have already 
remarked on the physical and social qualifica- 
tions necessary for a place which is to become 
the seat of a great school of learning: Bulaeus 
observes, that the Muses were said to inhabit 
mountains, Parnassus or Helicon, spots high and 
healthy and secured against the perils of war, 
and the Academy was a grove ; though of course 
he does not forget that it must be accessible too, 
and in the highway of the world. " That the 
city of Paris", he says, "is ample in size, largely 
frequented, healthy and pleasant in site, there 
can be no doubt". Frederic the Second spoke 
the general sentiment, when he gave as a reason 
for establishing a University at Naples, the con- 
venience of the sea coast and the fertility of the 
soil. We are informed by Matamorus, in his 
account of the Spanish Universities,* that Sala- 

* Hispan. Illustr. t. 2, p. 801. 


manca was but the second site of its Univer- 
sity, which was transferred thither from Palencia 
on account of the fertility of the neighbourhood, 
and the mildness of its climate. And Mr. 
Prescott speaks of Alcala being chosen as the 
site for his celebrated foundations by Cardinal 
Ximenes, because " the salubrity of the air, and 
the sober, tranquil complexion of the scenery, 
on the beautiful borders of the Henares, seemed 
well suited to academic study and meditation". 

The third difference between the greater and 
lesser schools lies ratione fundatorum. Popes, 
Emperors, and Kings, are the founders of Uni- 
versities ; lesser authorities in Church and State 
are the founders of Colleges and Schools. 

Fourthly, ratione privilegiorum. The very 
notion of a University, I believe, is, that it is an 
institution of privilege. I think it is Bulaeus 
who says, " Studia Generalia cannot exist with- 
out privileges, any more than the body without 
the soul. And in this all writers on Universities 
agree". He reduces those privileges to two heads, 
" Patrocinium" and " Praemium"; and these, it is 
obvious, may be either of a civil or an ecclesias- 
tical nature. There were formerly five Uni- 
versities endowed with singular privileges : those 

PARIS. 245 

of Rome, of Paris, of Bologna, of Oxford, and 
of Salamanca ; but Antony a "Wood quotes an 
author who seems to substitute Padua for Rome 
in this list. 

Lastly, the greater and lesser schools differ 
rations regiminis. The head of a College is 
one; but a University is a " respublica lit- 



SUPPLY AND demand: 

It is most interesting to observe how the foun- 
dations of the present intellectual greatness of 
Europe were laid, and most wonderful to think 
that they were ever laid at all. Let us consider 
how wide and how high is the platform of our 
knowledge at this day, and what openings in 
every direction are in progress, — openings of 
such promise, that, unless some convulsion of 
society takes place, even what we have attained, 
will in future times be nothing better than a 
poor beginning; and then on the other hand, 
let us recollect that, seven centuries ago, put- 
ting aside revealed truths, Europe had little 
more than that poor knowledge, partial and un- 
certain, and at best only practical, which is 
conveyed to us by the senses. Even our first 
principles now are beyond the most daring con- 
jectures then; and what has been said so 


touclilngly of Christian ideas as compared with 
pagan, is true in its way and degree of the pro- 
gress of secular knowledge also in the seven 
centuries I have named. 

" What sage8 would have died to learn, 
Is taught by cottage dames". 

Nor is this the only point in which the revela- 
tions of science may be compared to the super- 
natural revelations of Christianity. Though 
sacred truth was dehvered once for all, and 
scientific discoveries are progressive, yet there is 
a great resemblance in the respective histories of 
Christianity and of Science. We are accus- 
tomed to point to the rise and spread of Chris- 
tianity as a miraculous fact, and rightly so, on 
account of the weakness of its instruments, and 
the appalling weight and multiplicity of the 
obstacles which confronted it. To clear away 
those obstacles was to move mountains; yet 
this was done by a few poor, obscure, unbe- 
friended men, and their poor, obscure, un- 
befriended followers. No social movement can 
come up to this marvel, which is singular and 
archetypical, certainly ; it is a divine work, and 
we soon cease to admire it in order to adore. 


But there is more in it than its own greatness 
to contemplate ; it is so great as to be prolific of 
greatness. Those whom it has created, its chil- 
dren who have become such by a supernatural 
power, have imitated, in their own acts, the dis- 
pensation which made them what they were; 
and, though they have not carried out works 
simply miraculous, yet they have done exploits 
sufficient to bespeak their own unearthly origin, 
and the new powers which had come into the 
world. The revival of letters by the energy 
of Christian ecclesiastics and laymen, when 
everything had to be done, reminds us of 
the birth of Christianity itself, as far as a work 
of man can resemble a work of God. 

Two characteristics, as I have already had 
occasion to say, are generally found to attend 
the history of science: — first, its instruments 
have an innate force, and can dispense with 
foreign assistance in their work; and secondly, 
these instruments must exist and must begin to 
act, before subjects are found on whom they 
are to operate. In plainer language, the teacher 
is strong, not in the patronage of great men, but 
in the intrinsic value and attraction of what he 
has to communicate; and next, he must come 


forward and advertise Kimself, before he can 
gain hearers. This I have expressed before, 
in saying that a great school of learning lived 
in demand and supply, and that the supply 
must be before the demand. Now, what is this 
but the very history of the preaching of the 
Gospel? who but the Apostles and Evangelists 
went out to the ends of the earth without 
patron, or friend, or other external advantage 
which could insure their success? and again, 
who among the multitude they enlightened, 
would have called for their aid unless they had 
gone to that multitude first, and offered to it 
blessings which up to that moment it had not 
heard of? They had no commission, they had 
no invitation, from man; their strength lay 
neither in their being sent, nor in their being 
sent for ; but in the circumstance that they had 
that with them, a divine message, which they 
knew would at once, when it was uttered, thrill 
through the hearts of those to whom they spoke, 
and make for themselves friends in any place, 
strangers and outcasts as they were when they 
first came. They appealed to the secret wants 
and aspirations of hirnian nature, to its laden 
conscience, its weariness, its desolateness, and 


its sense of the true and the divine ; nor did they 
long wait for listeners and disciples, when they 
announced the remedy of evils which were so real. 
Something like this were the first stages of 
the process by which in medieval Christendom 
the structure of our present intellectual eleva- 
tion was carried forward. From Rome as from 
a centre, as the Apostles from Jerusalem, went 
forth the missionaries of knowledge, passing to 
and fro all over Europe; and, as metropolitan 
sees marked the temporary presence of Apos- 
tles, so did Paris, Pavia, and Bologna, and 
Padua, and Ferrara, Pisa and Naples, Vienna, 
Louvain, and Oxford, rise into Universities at 
the voice of the theologian or the philosopher. 
Moreover, as the Apostles went through labours 
untold, by sea and land, in their charity to souls ; 
so, if robbers, shipwrecks, bad lodging, and 
scanty fare are trials of zeal, such trials were 
encountered without hesitation by the martyrs 
and confessors of science. And as Evangelists 
had grounded their teaching upon the longing 
for happiness natural to man, so did these 
securely rest their cause on the natural thirst for 
knowledge : and again as the preachers of Gospel 
peace had often to bewail the ruin which perse- 


cutlon or dissension had brought upon their 
flourishing colonies, so also did the professors of 
science often find or flee the ravages of sword or 
pestilence in those places, which they themselves 
perhaps in former times had made the seats of 
religious, honourable, and useful learning. And 
lastly, as kings and nobles have fortified and 
advanced the interests of the Christian faith 
without being necessary to it, so in like manner 
we may enumerate with honour Charlemagne, 
Alfred, Henry the First of England, Joan of 
Navarre, and many others, as patrons of the 
schools of learning, without being obliged to 
allow that those schools could not have pro- 
gressed without such countenance. 

These are some of the points of resemblance 
between the propagation of Christian truth and 
the revival of letters; and, to return to the two 
points, to which I have particularly drawn at- 
tention, the University Professor's confidence in 
his own powers, and his taking the initiative in 
the exercise of them, I find both these distinctly 
recognized by Mr. Hallam in his history of 
Literature. As to the latter point, he says, 
" The schools of Charlemagne were designed to 
lay the basis of a learned education, for which 


there was at that time no su^cient desire": — that 
is, the supply was prior to the demand. As to 
the former: "In the twelfth century", he says, 
" the impetuosity with which men rushed to that 
source of what they deemed wisdom, the great 
University of Paris, did not depend upon acade- 
mical privileges or eleemosynary stipends, though 
these were undoubtedly very effectual in keeping 
it up. The University created patrons, and was 
not created hy them!'': — that is, demand and 
supply were all in all. 

A story of the age of Charlemagne will serve 
in illustration. We are told that two wandering 
Irish students were brought by British traders 
to the coast of France. There, observing the 
eagerness with which those hawkers of perish- 
able merchandize were surrounded by the popu- 
lace, they imitated them by crying out, " Who 
wants wisdom ? here is wisdom on sale ! this is 
the place for wisdom ! " till a sensation was 
created, and they were sent for and taken into 
favour by the great Emperor. 

The professors of Greece and Rome, though 
pursuing the same course, had an easy time of 
it, compared with the duties, which, at least in 
the earlier periods or in certain localities, fell 


upon the medieval missionaries of knowledge. 
The pagan teachers might indeed be told to 
quit the city, whither they had come, on their 
outraging its religious sentiments or arousing its 
political jealousy; but still they were received 
as superior beings by the persons in immediate 
contact with them, and what they lost in one 
place they regained in another. On the con- 
trary, as the cloister alone gave birth to the 
revivers of knowledge, so the cloister alone pre- 
pared them for their work. There was nothing 
selfish in their aim, nothing cowardly in their 
mode of operation. It was generosity which 
sent them out upon the public stage; it was 
ascetic practice which prepared them for it. 
Afterwards, indeed, they received the secular re- 
wards of their exertions; but even then the 
general character of the intellectual movement 
remained as before. "The Doctors", says Fleury 
in his Discourses, " being sure of finding in a 
certain town occupation with recompense for 
their labours, established themselves there of 
their own accord ; and students, in like manner, 
sure to find there good masters with all the com- 
modities of life, assembled there in crowds from 
all parts, even fi:om distant countries. Thus 


they came to Paris from England, from Ger- 
many and all tlie North, from Italy, from Spain". 
Bee, a poor monastery of Normandy, set up 
in the eleventh century by an illiterate soldier, 
who sought the cloister, soon attracted scholars 
to its dreary clime from Italy, and transmitted 
them to England. Lanfranc, afterwards Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, was one of these, and he 
found the simple monks so necessitous, that he 
opened a school of logic to all comers, in order, 
says William of Malmesbury, *' that he might 
support his needy monastery by the pay of the 
students". The same author adds, that " his 
reputation went into the most remote parts of 
the Latin world, and Bee became a great and 
famous Academy of letters". Here is an in- 
stance of a commencement without support, 
without scholars, in order to attract scholars, 
and in them to find support. William of 
Jumieges, too, bears witness to the efiect, power- 
ful, sudden, wide spreading, and various, of 
Lanfranc's advertisement of himself. The fame 
of Bee and Lanfranc, he says, quickly pene- 
trated through the whole world ; and " clerks, 
the sons of dukes, the most esteemed masters of 
the Latin schools, powerful laymen, high nobles. 


flocked to him". What words can more stri- 
kingly attest the enthusiastic character of the 
movement he began, than to say that it carried 
away with it all classes ; rich as well as poor, 
laymen as well as ecclesiastics, those who were 
in that day in the habit of despising letters, as 
well as those who might wish to live by them ? 

It was about a century after Lanfranc that from 
this same monastery of Bee came forth another 
Abbot, and he another Lombard, to begin a 
second movement, in a new science, in these same 
northern regions, especially in England. This 
was the celebrated Vacarius, or Bacalareus, who 
from the proximity of his birthplace to Bologna, 
seems to have gained that devotion to the study of 
the Law which he ultimately kindled in Oxford. 
Lanfranc had lectured in logic; Vacarius lec- 
tured in law. Bologna, which is celebrated in 
history for its cultivation of this august science, 
was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of 
Universities, as far as historical evidence is to 
decide the question. Its University was com- 
menced a little later than the first years of the 
School of Bee; and affords us an observable 
instance, first, of the self originating, indepen- 
dent character of the scientific movement, — then, 


of the influence and attraction it exerted on tlie 
people, — and lastly, of the incidental difficulties 
through which it slowly advanced in the course 
of many years to its completion. There Ir- 
nerius, or Warner, according to Muratori, is 
found at the end of the eleventh century, and 
opened a school of civil law. In the next cen- 
tury canon law was added ; in the first years of 
the thirteenth, the school of grammar and lite- 
rature ; and a few years later, those of theology 
and medicine. Fifty years later, it had ten 
thousand students under its teaching, numbers 
of whom had come all across sea and moun- 
tain from England; — so strong and encom- 
passing was the sentiment. 

And as Englishmen at that time sought Italy, 
so, I say, did Vacarius in turn, a native of 
Italy, seek England. Selden completes the 
parallel between him and Lanfranc, by making 
him Archbishop of Canterbury, after which he 
retired again to Bee. However, to England he 
came, and to Oxford ; and there, he effected a 
revolution in the studies of the place, and that 
on the special ground of the definite drift and 
direct usefulness of the science in which he was 
a proficient. As in the case of Lanfranc, not 


one class of persons, but " rich and poor", says 
Wood, " gathered around him". The professors 
of Arts were thrown into the shade. Their 
alarm was increased by the rival zeal with which 
the medical science was prosecuted, and the 
aspect of things got in course of years so threat- 
ening, that the Holy See was obliged to inter- 
fere. If knowledge is power, it also may be 
honour and wealth; hence the couplet, expres- 
sive of the feeling of the day, 

" Dat Galenus opes, dat Justinianus honores, 
Sed Genus et Species, cogitur ire pedes". 

It was indeed the Faculty of Arts which 
constituted the staple, as it may be called, of a 
University; Arts, as seems to be commonly al- 
lowed, constituted a University ; and by Arts are 
imderstood the studies comprised in the Trivium 
and Quadrivium, viz. (as I ought to have said 
before), Grammar, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Logic, 
Geometry, Astronomy, and Music. These were 
inherited from the ancient world, and were the 
foundation of the system which was then in 
course of formation. But the life of Universities 
lay in the new sciences, not indeed supereeding, 

but presupposing Arts, viz., tliose of Theology, 



Law, Medicine, and in subordination to them, 
of Metaphysics, Natural History, and the lan- 
guages. I have been speaking of the law move- 
ment, as it may be called; now, about the same 
time that Vacarius came to Oxford, Robert 
Pullus or Pulleyn came thither too from Exeter, 
just about the time of St. Anselm, and gave the 
same sort of impulse to biblical learning, which 
Vacarius gave to law. " From his teaching", 
says the Osney Chronicle, "the Church both in 
England and in France gained great profit". 
Leland says, that he lectured daily, "and left no 
stone imturned to make the British youth 
flourish in the sacred tongues". " Multitudes" 
are said to have come to hear him, and his fame 
spread to Rome, whither Pope Innocent the 
Second sent for him. Celestine the Second 
made him a Cardinal, and Lucius the Second 
his Chancellor. He was an intimate friend of 
St. Bernard's, and his influence extended to 
Cambridge as well as to Paris. 

At Cambridge the intellectual movement had 
already commenced, and with similar phenomena 
in its course. These points, indeed, are so en- 
veloped in obscurity, and on the other hand so 
intimately bearing on the sensibilities, now as 


keen as ever, of rival scliools, that I, who look 
on philosophically, a member neither of Cam- 
bridge nor of Oxford nor of Paris, " turban- 
tibus asquora ventis", find it necessary to state 
that, in what I shall say, I am determining 
nothing to the prejudice of the antiquity or 
precedence of any of those seats of learning. I 
take the account given us by Peter of Blois, 
merely as a specimen of the way in which the 
present fabric of knowledge was founded and 
reared, as a picture in miniature of the great 
medieval revival, whatever becomes of its his- 
torical truth. As a mere legend, it is sufficient 
for my purpose ; for historical legends and fic- 
tions are made according to what is probable, 
and after the pattern of precedents. 

The author, then, to whom I have referred, 
says, that Jeofii-ed, or Goisfred, had studied at 
Orleans; thence he came to Lincolnshire, and 
became Abbot of Crowland ; whence he sent to 
his manor of Cotenham, near Cambridge, four 
of his French fellow-students and monks, one of 
them to be Professor of sacred learning, the 
rest teachers in Philosophy, in which they were 
excellently versed. At Cambridge they hired 
a common barn, and opened it as a School of 


the high Sciences. They taught daily. By 
the second year the number of hearers was so 
great, from town and country, " that not the 
highest house and barn that was", says Wood, 
"nor any church whatsoever, sufficed to hold 
them". They accordingly divided off into 
several schools, and began an arrangement of 
classes, some of which are enumerated. " Be- 
times in the morning, brother Odo, a very good 
grammarian and satirical poet, read grammar 
to the boys, and those of the younger sort, 
according to the doctrine of Priscian"; at one 
o'clock " a most acute and subtle Sophist 
taught the elder sort of young men Aristotle's 
Logic"; at three o'clock, "brother William 
read a lecture on Tully's Rhetoric and Quin- 
tillian's Flores" ; — such was the beginning of the 
University of Cambridge. And " Master Gisle- 
bert upon every Sunday and Holyday, preached 
the Word of God to the people" ; — such was the 
beginning of its University Church. 

It will be observed, that in these accounts, 
Scripture comment is insisted on, and little or 
nothing is said of Theology, properly so called. 
Indeed, it was not till the next (the thirteenth) 
century, that Theology took that place, which 


Law assumed about a century before it. Then 
it was that the Friars, especially the Dominicans, 
were doing as much for Theology, as Irnerius, 
Vacarius, and the Bolognese Professors did for 
Law. They raised it (if I may so speak of 
what is divine) to the dignity of a science. 
"They had such a succinct and deKghtful 
method", says Wood, speaking of them at Ox- 
ford, " in the whole course of their discipline, 
quite in a manner different from the sophistical 
way of the Academicians, that thereby they did 
not only draw to them the Benedictines and 
Carthusians, to be sometimes their constant au- 
ditors, but also the Friars of St. Augustine". 

Here we have another exemplification of the 
same great principles of the movement which we 
have noticed elsewhere; its teachers came from 
afar, and they depended, not on kings and great 
men for their support, but on the enthusiasm 
they created. " The reputation of the school of 
Paris ", says Fleury, " increased considerably at 
the commencement of the twelfth century imder 
William of Champeaux and his disciples at St. 
Victor's. At the same time Peter Abelard came 
thither and taujjht them with great eclat the 
humanities and the Aristotelic philosophy. Al- 


beric of Rheims taught tliere also; and Peter 
Lombard, Hildebert, Robert Pullus, the Abbot 
Rupert, and Hugh of St. Victor ; Albertus Mag- 
nus also, and the Angelic Doctor". How few 
of these professors at Paris were fellow-country- 
men ! Albert was from Germany, St. Thomas 
from Naples, Peter Lombard from Novara, Ro- 
bert Pullus from Exeter in England. The case 
had been the same three centuries before in the 
same great school. Charlemagne brought Peter 
of Pisa from Pavia for Grammar; Alcuin from 
England for Rhetoric and Logic ; Theodore and 
Benedict from Rome for Music ; John of Mel- 
rose, who was afterwards at the head of the 
schools at Pavia, and Claudius Clemens, two 
Scots, from Ireland. Ireland, indeed, contri- 
buted a multitude of teachers to the continental 
schools, and the more, because, great as was the 
fame of its earlier schools, it had now no Univer- 
sity of its own. The names of its professors 
have not commonly been preserved, though 
Erigena and Scotus by their very titles show 
their origin : but we find that, when the Emperor 
Frederick the Second would set up the Univer- 
sity of Naples, he sent all the way to Ireland for 
the learned Peter to be its first Rector ; and an 


autlior, quoted in Bulaeus, speaks of " tlie whole 
of Ireland, with its family of philosophers, despi- 
sing the dangers of the sea ", and migrating to 
the south. Such was the famous Richard of St. 
Victor, whose very title marks his connexion 
with the great school of Paris. 

There is a force in the words, " despising the 
dangers of the sea". We in this degenerate age 
sometimes shrink from the passage between Ho- 
lyhead and Kingstown, when duty calls for it; 
yet before steam-boats, almost before seaworthy 
vessels, we find these zealous scholars, both Irish 
and English, voluntarily exposing themselves to 
the winds and waves, from their desire of im- 
parting and acquiring knowledge. Not content 
with one teacher, they went from place to place, 
according as in each there was preeminence in a 
particular branch of knowledge. We have in 
St. Athanasius's life of St. Antony a beautiful 
account of the diligence with which the young 
hermit went about " like the bee", as his great 
biographer says, in quest of superiority in va- 
rious kinds of virtue. From one holy man, he 
says (I quote from memory), the youth gained 
courtesy and grace, from another gentleness, 
from another mortification, from another hu- 


inility; and in a similar way did the knight 
errants of science go about, seeking indeed 
sometimes rivals to encounter, but more fre- 
quently patterns and instructors to follow. As 
then the legendary St. George or St. Denis 
wandered from place to place to achieve feats of 
heroism, as St. Antony or Sulpicius Severus 
went about on pilgrimage to holy hermits, as St. 
Gregory Nazianzen visited Greece, or St. Jerome 
traversed Europe, and became, the one the most 
accomplished theologian, the other the first Bi- 
blical scholar of his age, so did the medieval 
Doctors and Masters go the round of Universi- 
ties in order to get the best instruction in every 

The famous John of Salisbury (as Mr. Sharon 
Turner tells us) went to Paris for the lectures of 
Abelard just on the death of Henry the First, 
and with him he studied logic. Then for dia- 
lectics he went to Alberic and to the English 
Robert for two years. Then for three years to 
William de Conchia for grammar ; afterwards to 
Richard Bishop for a renewed study of grammar 
and logic, going on to the Quadrivium ; and to 
the German Harduin. Next he restudied rhe- 
toric, which he had learned from Theodoric, and 


more completely from Father Elias. Meanwhile, 
he supported himself by teaching the children of 
noble persons, and became intimate with Adam, 
an Eughshman, a stout Aristotelian, and re- 
turned to logic with William of Soissons and 
Gilbert. Lastly, he studied theology with Ro- 
bert Pulleyne or PuUus, already mentioned, and 
Simon de Poissy. Thus he passed as much as 
twelve years. Better instances, however, than 
his, as introducing a wider extent of travel, are 
those already referred to, of St. Thomas, or 
Vacarius, of Lanfranc, St. Anselm, or John of 

The ordinary course of study, however, lay 
between the schools of Paris and Oxford, in 
which was almost centered the talent of the age, 
and which were united by the most intimate 
connexion. Happy age, whatever its other in- 
conveniences, happy so far as this, that religion 
and science were then a bond of union, till the 
ambition of monarchs and the rivalry of race 
dissolved it ! Wood gives us a list of thirty- 
two Oxford professors of name, who in their 
respective times went to teach in Paris, among 
whom were Alexander Hales, and the admirable 
St. Edmund, afterwards Archbishop of Canter- 


burj, — St. Edmund, who, after St. Thomas, 
perhaps shows us best how sanctity is not incon- 
sistent Avith preeminence in the schools. On the 
other hand, Bulajus recites the names of men, 
even greater, viewed as a body, who went from 
Oxford to Paris, not to teach, but to be taught ; 
such as St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Richard, 
St. Gilbert of Sempringham, Giraldus 0am- 
brensis, Gilbert the Universal, Haimo, Richard de 
Barry, Nicholas Breakspeare, afterwards Pope, 
Nekam, Morley, and Galfredus de Vinsalfe. 
So intimate, or to use the word, so tliick were 
Paris and Oxford at this time, as to give occa- 
sion to this couplet, 

" Et procul et propius jam Francus et Anglicus aequ^, 
Norunt Parisiis quid feceris, Oxoiiiaeque". 

And this continued till the time of Edward the 
Third, when came the wretched French wars 
and the Lollards, and then adieu to familiar 
intercourse down to this day. 

I have not found the number of students in 
Paris ; but from what I have said, one is led to 
expect two things of it, first, that it would be 
very great, next, that it would be very variable : 
and these inferences are confirmed by what is 


told us of the numbers at Oxford, In that 
University we read of Scotch, Irish, Welsh, 
French, Spanish, German, Bohemian, Hunga- 
rian, and Polish students; and, when it is con- 
sidered, as a modern writer tells us, that they 
would bring with them, or require for their 
uses, a number of dependents in addition, such 
as parchment-preparers, bookbinders, stationers, 
apothecaries, surgeons, and laimdresses, it is not 
wonderful that the whole number of matricu- 
lated persons was sometimes even marvellous, 
and as fluctuating in a long period as excessive 
at particular dates. We are told that there were 
in Oxford in 1209 three thousand members of 
the University, in 1231 thirty thousand, in 1263 
fifteen thousand, in 1350 between three and four 
thousand, and in 1360 six thousand. This 
ebbing and flowing, moreover, suggests what it 
is all along very much to my purpose to ob- 
serve, and on which, if I have the opportu- 
nity, I shall have more to say presently; first, 
that the zeal for study and knowledge is suffi- 
cient indeed in itself for the being of a Univer- 
sity ; but secondly, that it is not sufficient for its 
well being, or what is technically called its in- 


The era of the French wars, which put an 
end to this free intercourse of France and 
England, seems for various reasons to have been 
the beginning of a decline in the ecumenical 
greatness of Universities. They lost some ad- 
vantages, they gained others; they became 
national bodies; they gained much in the way 
of good order and in comfort; they became 
rich and honourable establislxments. Each age 
has its own character and its own wants: and 
we trust that in each a loving Providence shapes 
the institutions of the Church as they may best 
subserve the objects for which she has been sent 
into the world. We cannot tell exactly what 
the Catholic University ought to be at this era ; 
doubtless neither the University of Scotus, nor 
that of Gerson, in matters of detail; but, if we 
keep great principles before us, and feel our 
way carefully, and ask guidance from above for 
every step we take, we may trust to be able to 
serve the cause of truth in our day and accor- 
ding to our measure, and in that way which is 
most expedient and most profitable, as our 
betters did in ages past and gone. 




I MAY seem in the foregoing chapter to have 
relapsed into the tone of thought which created 
some surprise when I was speaking of Athens 
and the Sophists ; and my good friend Richard, 
the Epicurean, may be upon me again, for my 
worship, as he will consider it, of the intellect, 
and my advocacy of the Professorial System. 
This is an additional call on me to go forward 
with my subject, if I can do so without weary- 
ing the reader. I say " without wearying", for 
I beg to assure him, if he has not already foimd 
it out for himself, that it is very difficult for any 
one to discuss points of ancient iisage or national 
peculiarity, as I am doing, and to escape the 
dry, dull tone of an antiquarian. This is so 
acknowledged an inconvenience, that every now 
and then you find an author attempting to evade 
it by turning his book of learned research into 
a novel or a poem. I will say nothing of 


Thalaba or Kebama, tbougli the various learn- 
ing displayed in the notes appended to those 
pleasing fables, certainly suggests the idea, that 
the poetry may have grown out of the notes, 
instead of the notes being the illustration of the 
poetry. However, I believe it is undoubted, 
that Morier converted his unsaleable quarto on 
Persia into his amusing Hadji Baba; while 
Palgrave has poured out his medieval erudition 
by the channels of Friar Bacon and jNIarco Polo, 
and Bekker has insinuated archeology in the 
persons of Charicles and Gallus. Were I to 
attempt to do the same, whether for the group- 
ing of facts or the relief of abstract discussion, 
I have reason to believe I should not displease 
men of great authority and judgment; but for 
success in such an undertaking there would be 
demanded a very considerable stock of details, 
and no small ability in bringing them to bear on 
principles, and working them up into a narra- 
tive. On the whole, then, I prefer to avail 
myself, both as counsel and as comfort, of the 
proverb, "Si gravis, brevis"; and to make it a 
point, that, weary as my reader may be, he shall 
not have time to go to sleep. And to-day espe- 
cially, since I mean to be particularly heavy in 


the line of abstract discussion, I mean also to be 
particularly sliort. 

I purpose, then, to state here what is the 
obvious safeguard of a University from the evils 
to which it is liable if left to itself, or what may 
be called, to use the philosophical term, its 
integrity. By the " integrity" of anything is 
meant a gift superadded to its nature, without 
which that nature is indeed complete, and can 
act, and fulfil its end, but does not find itself, if 
I may use the expression, in easy circumstances. 
It is in fact very much what easy circumstances 
are in relation to human happiness. This re- 
minds me of Aristotle's account of happiness, 
which is an instance in point. He specifies two 
conditions, which are required for its integrity ; 
it is indeed a state of mind, and in its nature 
independent of externals, yet he goes on (incon- 
sistently we might say, till we make the dis- 
tinction I am pointing out), he goes on, after 
laying down that " man's chief good is an energy 
of the soul according to virtue", to add, " besides 
this, throughout the greater part of life, — for, as 
neither one swallow, nor one day, makes a 
spring, so neither does one day, nor a short 
time, make a man blessed and happy". Here is 


one condition, which in one sense may be said to 
fall under the notion of integrity ; but, whether 
this be so or not, a second condition, which he 
proceeds to mention, seems altogether to answer 
to it. After repeating that " happiness is the 
best and most noble and most delightful of 
energies according to virtue", he adds : " at the 
same time it seems to stand in need of external 
goods, for it is impossible, or at least not easy, to 
perform praiseworthy actions without external 
means, for many things are performed, as it 
were by instruments, by friends, and wealth, and 
political power. But men deprived of some 
things, as of noble birth, fine progeny, a fine 
form, have a flaw in their happiness ; for he is 
not altogether capable of happiness, who is 
deformed in his body, or of mean birth, or 
deserted and childless ; and still less so, perhaps, 
if he have vicious children, or if they were dear 
and dutiful, and have died. Therefore it seems 
to demand such prosperity as this ; whence some 
arrange good fortune in the same class with 
happiness ; but others virtue". 

This then is how we may settle the dispute to 
which my Epicurean alluded, and which has 
been carried on at intervals in the British Uni- 


verslties for the last fifty years. It began in the 
pages of the Edinburgh Review, which at that 
time might in some sense be called the organ of 
the University of Edinburgh. Twenty years 
later, if my memory does not play me false, it 
was renewed in the same quarter ; then it was 
taken up at Cambridge, and lately it was going 
on briskly between some of the most able mem- 
bers of the University of Oxford. Now what 
has been the point of dispute between the com- 
batants? This, whether a University should be 
conducted on the system of Professors, or on the 
system of Colleges and College Tutors. By a 
College was understood something more than 
the Museum of Alexandria, or such corporations 
among ourselves, as are established for Medicine, 
Surgery, Engineering, or Agriculture. It was 
taken to mean a place of residence for the Uni- 
versity student, who would there find himself 
under the guidance and instruction of Superiors 
and Tutors, bound to attend to his personal 
interests, moral and intellectual. The party of 
the North and of progress have ever advocated 
the Professorial system, as it has been called, 
and have pointed in their own behalf to the 

practice of the middle ages and of modem Ger- 



many and France ; the party of the South and of 
prescription have ever stood up for the Tutorial 
or Collegiate system, and have pointed to Protes- 
tant Oxford and Cambridge, where it has almost 
or altogether superseded the Professorial. Now 
I have on former occasions said enough to show 
that I am for both views at once, and think 
neither of them complete without the other. 
I admire the Professor, I venerate the College. 
The Professorial system fulfils the strict idea 
of a University, and is sufficient for its being, 
but it is not sufficient for its well-being. 
Colleges constitute the integrity of a University. 
This view harmonizes with what I said in a 
former chapter, about Influence and Law; for 
though Professors may be and have been utterly 
without personal weight and persuasiveness, and 
Colleges utterly forgetful of moral and religious 
discipline, still, taking a broad view of history, 
we shall find that Colleges are to be accounted 
the maintainors of order, and Universities the 
origins of movement. It coincides, too, with 
the doctrine of a late Treatise on University 
Education,* in which a Studium Generale is 

* Newman's Discourses on the Scope and Nature of Uni- 
versity Education. Duffy. 1852. 


considered first in its own nature, then as it ex- 
ists within the pale of Catholicism. " It is", the 
author says, " a place of teaching universal 
knowledge. Such is a University in its essence 
and independently of its relation to the Church. 
But, practically speaking, it cannot fulfil its 
object duly without the Church's assistance, or 
the Church is necessary for its integrity; not that 
its main characters are changed by this incor- 
poration; it still has the office of intellectual 
education; but the Church steadies it in the 
performance of that office". I say this passage 
coincides with the statements I have been 
making, because Colleges are the direct and 
special instruments, which the Church uses in a 
University, for the attainment of her sacred 
objects, — as other passages of the same volume 
incidentally teach, 

Ldt us then bring the real state of the case 
before our minds. A University is " a school of 
knowledge of every kind, consisting of teachers 
and learners from every quarter". Two or 
three learned men, with Jittle or no means, 
make their way to some great city. They 
come with introductions to the Bishop, if there 
is no University there yet, and receive his sane- 


tion, or they get the necessary leave, and then 
on their own responsibility they open a school. 
They may, or they may not be priests; but, 
any how, they are men of correct principles, 
in earnest, set on their work, and not careful of 
their own ease or interest. They do not mind 
where they lodge, or how they live, and their 
learning, zeal, and eloquence soon bring hearers 
to them, not only natives, but strangers to the 
place, travelling thither from considerable dis- 
tances, on the report of the teachers who have 
there congregated. If the professors have but 
scanty means, the pupils have not more abun- 
dant ; and, in spite of their thirst for knowledge, 
whatever it may be, they cannot have the staid- 
ness and gravity of character, or the self-com- 
mand, which years and experience have given to 
their teachers. They have difficulty in finding 
food or lodging, and are thrown upon shifts, and 
upon the world, for both the one and the other. 
Now, it must be an extraordinary excitement 
which can save them from the consequences of a 
trial such as this. They lodge in garrets or 
cellars, or they share a room with others ; they 
mix with the inhabitants of the place, who, if 
not worse, at least will not be better than the 


run of mankind. A man must either be a saint 
or an enthusiast to be aiFected in no degree by 
the disadvantages of such a mode of living. 
There are few people whose minds are not un- 
settled on being thrown out of habits of regu- 
larity ; few who do not suffer, when withdrawn 
from the eye of those who know them, or from 
the scrutiny of public opinion. How often does 
a religious community complain, on finding 
themselves in a new home, of the serious incon- 
venience, in a spiritual point of view, which 
attaches to the mere circumstance that they have 
not an habitation suited to the rule which they 
are bound to observe ! Without elbow room, 
without order, without tranquillity, they grieve 
to find that recollection and devotion have not 
fair play. What, then, will be the case with a 
number of youths of unformed minds, so little 
weaned from the world that their very studies 
are perhaps the result of their ambition, and who 
are under no definite obligation to be better than 
their neighbours, only bound by that general 
Christian profession, which those neighbours 
share with them ? The excitement of novelty or 
emulation does not last long ; and then the mind 
is common^ left a prey to its enemies, even 


when there is no such disarrangement of daily 
life as I have been describing. It is not to be 
expected that the Professor, whom they attend, 
necessitous himself, can exercise a control over 
such a set of pupils, even if he has any jurisdic- 
tion, or can bring his personal influence to bear 
upon any great number of them ; or that he can 
see them beyond the hours in which the schools 
are open, or, indeed, can do much more than de- 
liver lectures in their presence. It is certain 
then, that, in proportion to the popularity, 
whether of the Professor or the place itself, 
granting there will be numerous exceptions to 
the contrary, a mob of lawless youths will gra- 
dually be formed, after the pattern of the rioters 
whom Eunapius encountered, and St. Basil es- 
caped, at Athens. Nor will the state of things 
be substantially difierent, even if we suppose 
that, instead of the indigence I have described, 
the frequenters of the schools have a compe- 
tency for their maintenance ; much less, if they 
have a superfluity of means. 

To these disorders, which are of certain oc- 
currence, others may easily be added. A 
popular Professor will be carried away by his 
success, and, in proportion as his ^earning is 


profound, His talents ready, and his elocution 
attractive, will be in danger of falling into some 
extravagance of doctrine, or even of being be- 
trayed into heresy. The teacher has his own 
perils, as well as the taught; there are in his 
]>ath such enemies as the pride of intellect, the 
aberrations of reasoning, and the intoxication of 
applause. The very advantages of his position 
are his temptation. I have spoken in a former 
chapter of the superiority of oral instruction 
to books, in the communication of knowledge ; 
the following passage from an able contro- 
versialist of the day, which is intended to illus- 
trate that superiority, incidentally suggests to us 
also, that, first, the speaker may suffer from the 
popularity of his gift, and, then, the hearer from 
its fascination. 

" While the type", he says, "is so admirable a 
contrivance for perpetuating knowledge, it is 
certainly more expensive, and in some points of 
view less effective as a means of communication, 
than the lecture. The type is a poor substitute 
for the human voice. It has no means of 
arousing, moderating, and adjusting the atten- 
tion. It has no emphasis except Italics, and 
this meagre notation cannot finely graduate itself 


to the need of the occasion. It cannot in this 
way mark the heed which should be specially 
and chiefly given to peculiar passages or words. 
It has no variety of manner and intonation, to 
show by their changes how the words are to be 
accepted, or what comparative importance is to 
be attached to them. It has no natural music to 
take the ear, like the human voice ; it carries 
with it no human eye to range, and to rivet the 
student when on the verge of truancy, and to 
command his intellectual activity by an appeal 
to the courtesies of life. Half the symboHsm 
of a living language is thus lost, when it is com- 
mitted to paper ; and that symbolism is the very 
means by which the forces of the hearer's mind 
can be best economized or most pleasantly ex- 
cited. The lecture, on the other hand, as de- 
livered, possesses all these instruments to win, 
and hold, and harmonize attention; and above 
all, it imparts to the whole teaching a human 
character, which the printed book can never 
supply. The Professor is the science or sub- 
ject vitalized and humanized in the student's 
presence. He sees him kindle into his subject ; 
he sees reflected and exhibited in him, his 
manner, and his earnestness, the general power 


of the science to engage, delight, and absorb a 
human intelligence. His natural sympathy and 
admiration attract or impel his tastes and feelings 
and wishes for the moment into the same cur- 
rents of feeling, and his mind is naturally and 
rapidly and insensibly strung and attuned to the 
strain of truth which is offered to him". 

It needs not this elegant panegyric of an 
Oxford Professor to inform us of the influence 
which eloquence can exert over an audience; I 
quote it rather for its able analysis of that in- 
fluence. I quote it, because it forcibly suggests 
to the mind how fitted the talent is, first to exalt 
the possessor in his own eyes, and then through 
him to mislead his hearers. I will cap it, if I 
may use the expression, with the following his- 
tories or legends of the thirteenth century ; — 
" Simon of Tournay, a famous Parisian doctor, 
one day proved in a lecture by such powerful 
arguments, the divinity of Christianity, that his 
school burst out into admiration of his ability. 
On this he cried out, ' Ha, good Jesus ; I could, 
if I chose, refute Thee quite as well'". The 
story goes on to say that he was instantly struck 
dumb. A disciple of Silo, a professor of theo- 
logy, died; after a while he returned to his 


master from the grave, invested in a cope of 
fire, inscribed all over with philosophical theses. 
A drop of his sweat fell upon the professor's 
hand, and burned it through. This cope lay 
on him as a punishment for intellectual pride.* 

Considerations such as this, are sufficiently 
suggestive of the dangers of the Professorial 
system; it is obvious, however, to mention one 
additional evil. We are supposing a vast influx 
and congregation of young men, their own 
masters, in a strange city, from countries various, 
of different traditions, politics, and manners, 
and which have often been at war with each 
other. And they have come to attend lecturers 
whom they are to choose out of a number of 
able men, themselves of various countries and 
characters too. Some of these Professors are 
their own countrymen respectively, others are 
not ; and all of them are more or less in rivalry 
one with another, so far as their department of 
teaching is the same. They will have their res- 
pective gatherings, their respective hostilities; 
many will puff them, many run them down; 

*Vide Father Dalgairns's article in the British Critic, 
Jan. 1843. 


their countrymen, for the sake of "la belle 
France", or " merry England", will range them- 
selves on their side, and fight in their behalf. 
Squabbles, conflicts, feuds, will be the conse- 
quence; the peace of the University will be 
broken, the houses will be besieged, the streets 
will be impassable. Accustomed to brawls with 
each other, they are not likely to be peaceable 
with any third party ; they will find themselves 
a match for the authority of Chancellor and 
Rector ; nor will they scruple at compromising 
themselves with the law, or even with the 
government ; nay, with the Church, if her autho- 
rities come in their way ; with the townspeople 
of course — a sort of ready-made opponent. 
The bells of St. Mary's and St. Martin's will 
ring; out will rush from their quarters the 
academic youth; and the smart blackguard of 
the city, and the stout peasant from the neigh- 
bourhood, will answer to the challenge. The 
worse organized is a country, the greater of 
course will be the disorder ; intolerable of course 
in the middle ages ; in times such as these, the 
magistracy or police would to a very con- 
siderable extent keep under such manifestations ; 
yet, in Germany, we are told that at least duels 


and party skirmishes are not uncommon, and 
even within the very home and citadel of Order, 
town-and-gown rows are not yet matters of 
history in the English Universities. 

Now, I have said quite enough for the pur- 
pose of showing that, taking human nature as it 
is, the thirst of knowledge and the opportunity 
of quenching it, though these be the real life of 
a great school of philosophy and science, will not 
be sufficient in fact for its establishment; that 
they will not work to their ultimate end, which 
is the attainment and propagation of truth, 
unless surrounded by influences, of a different 
sort, which have no pretension indeed to be the 
essence of a University, but are conservative of 
that essence. The Church does not think much 
of any *' wisdom", which is not " desursuni\ 
that is, revealed; nor unless, as the Apostle 
proceeds, it is " primum quidem pudica, deinde 
pacifica". These may be called the three vital 
principles of the Christian student, faith, chas- 
tity, love; because their contraries, viz., unbelief 
or heresy, impurity, and enmity, are just the 
three great sins against God, ourselves, and our 
neighbour, which are the death of the soul: — 
now, these are also just the three imputations 


whicli I have been bringing against the inci- 
dental action of what may be called the Pro- 
fessorial system. 

And lastly, obvious as are the deficiencies of 
that system, as obvious surely is its remedy, as 
far as human nature admits of one. I have 
been saying that regularity, rule, respect for 
others, the eye of friends and acquaintances, the 
absence from temptation, external restraints 
generally, are of first importance in protecting 
us against ourselves. When a boy leaves his 
home, when a peasant leaves his country, his 
faith and morals are in great danger, both 
because he is in the world, and also because he 
is among strangers. The remedy, then, of the 
perils which a University presents to the stu- 
dent, is to create within it homes, " altera 
Trojge Pergama", such as those, or better than 
those, which he has left behind. Small com- 
munities must be set up within its precincts, 
where his better thoughts will find countenance, 
and his good resolutions support; where his 
waywardness will be restrained, his heedlessness 
forewarned, and his prospective deviations anti- 
cipated. Here, too, his diligence will be steadily 
stimulated ; he will be kept up to his aim ; his 


progress will be ascertained, and his week's 
work, like a labourer's, measured. It is not easy 
for a young man to determine for himself 
whether he has mastered what he has been 
taught; a careful catechetical training, and a 
jealous scrutiny into his power of expressing 
himself and of turning his knowledge to ac- 
count, will be necessary, if he is really to profit 
from the able Professors whom he is attending ; 
and all this he will gain from the College 

Moreover, it has always been considered the 
wisdom of lawgivers and founders, to find a safe 
outlet for natural impulses and sentiments, 
which are sure to be found in their subjects, and 
which are hurtful only in excess ; and to direct, 
and moderate, and variously influence what they 
cannot extinguish. The story is familiarly told, 
when a politician was talking of violently re- 
pressive measures on some national crisis, of a 
friend who was present, proceeding to fasten 
down the lid of the kettle, which was hissing on 
his fire, and to stop up its spout. Here, in like 
manner, the subdivision of the members of a 
University, while it breaks up the larger combi- 
nation of parties, and makes them more manage- 


able, answers also the purposes of providing a 
safe channel for national, or provincial, or poli- 
tical feeling, and for a rivalry which is whole- 
some when it is not inordinate. These small 
societies, pitted, as it were, one against another, 
give scope to the exertion of an honourable emu- 
lation; and this, while it is a stimulus on the 
literary exertions of their respective members, is 
changed from a personal and selfish feeling, into 
a desire for the reputation of the body. Patri- 
otic sentiment, too, here finds its home; one 
college has a preponderance of members from 
one race or locality, another from another ; the 
" Nations" no longer fight on the academic 
scene, like the elements in chaos ; they are sub- 
mitted to these salutary organizations ; and the 
love of country, without being less intense, 
becomes purer, and more civilized, and more 

My object at present is not to prove what I 
have been saying, either by argument or from 
history, but to suggest views to the reader 
which he will pursue for himself. It may be 
said that small bodies may fall into a state of 
decay or irregularity, as well as large. It is 


true ; but that is not the question ; but whether 
in themselves smaller bodies of students are not 
easier to manage on the long run, than large 
ones I should not like to do either ; but, if I 
must choose between the two, I would rather 
drive four-in-hand, than the fifty wild cows 
which were harnessed to the travelling wagon 
of the Tartars. 




We can have few more apposite illustrations of 
at once the strength and Aveakness of what may 
be called the University principle, of what it 
can do and what it cannot, of its power to 
collect students, and its impotence to preserve 
and edify them, than the history of the cele- 
brated Abelard. His name is closely associated 
with the commencement of the University of 
Paris ; and in his popularity and in his reverses, 
in the criticisms of John of Salisbury on his 
method, and the protest of St. Bernard against his 
teaching, we read, as in a pattern specimen, what 
a University professes in its essence, and what 
it needs for its integrity. It is not to be sup- 
posed, that I am prepared to show this here, as it 
might be shown; but it is a subject so pertinent 
to the general object of these Essays, that it 

may be useful to devote even a few pages to it. 



The oracles of Divine Truth, as time goes on, 
do but repeat the one message from above 
which they have ever uttered, since the tongues 
of fire attested the coming of the Paraclete; 
still, as time goes on, they utter it with greater 
force and precision, under diverse forms, with 
fuller luminousness, and a richer ministration of 
thought, statement, and argument. They meet 
the varying wants, and encounter the special 
resistance of each successive age; and, though 
prescient of coming errors and their remedy 
long before, they cautiously reserve their new 
enunciation of the old Truth, till it is impe- 
ratively demanded. And, as it happens in 
kings' cabinets, that surmises arise, and rumours 
spread, of what is said in council, and is in 
course of preparation, and secrets perhaps get 
wind, true in substance or in direction, though 
distorted in detail; so too, before the Church 
speaks, one or other of her forward children 
speaks for her, and, while he does anticipate to a 
certain point what she is about to say or enjoin, 
he states it incorrectly, makes it error instead of 
truth, and risks his own faith in the process. 
Indeed, this is actually one source, or rather 
concomitant, of heresy, that it is the misshapen. 


huge, and grotesque foreshadow of true state- 
ments which are to come. Speaking under 
correction, I would apply this remark to the 
heresy of Tertullian or of Sabellius, which may 
be considered a reaction from existing errors, 
and an attempt, presumptuous, and therefore 
unsuccessful, to meet them with those divinely- 
appointed correctives which the Church alone 
can apply, and which she will actually apply, 
when the proper moment comes. The Gnos- 
tics boasted of their intellectual proficiency 
before the time of St. Irenseus, St. Atha- 
nasius, and St. Augustin; yet, when these 
doctors made their appearance, I suppose they 
were examples of a knowledge truer and deeper 
than theirs. Apollinaris anticipated the work 
of St. Cyril and the Ephesine Council, and 
became a heresiarch in consequence; and, to 
come down to the present times, we may con- 
ceive that writers, who have impatiently fallen 
away from the Church, because she would not 
adopt their views, would have found, had they 
but trusted her, and waited, that she knew how 
to profit by them, though she never could have 
need to borrow her enunciations firom them ; for 
their writings contained, so to speak, truth in 


the ore, truth which they themselves had not the 
gift to disengage from its foreign concomitants, 
and safely use, which she alone could use, which 
she would use in her destined hour, and which 
became their scandal simply because she did not 
use it faster. Now, applying this principle to 
the subject before us, I observe, that, supposing 
Abelard to be the first master of scholastic 
philosophy, as many seem to hold, we shall have 
still no difficulty in condemning the author, 
while we honour the work. To him is only the 
glory of spoiling by his own self-will what would 
have been done well and surely under the 
teaching and guidance of Infallible Authority. 

Nothing is more certain, than that some ideas 
are consistent with one another, and others in- 
consistent; and, again, that every truth must be 
consistent with every other truth ; — hence, that 
all truths of whatever kind form into one large 
body of Truth, by virtue of the consistency 
between one truth and another, which is the 
connecting Hnk running through them all. The 
science which discovers this connection, is logic ; 
and, as it discovers the connection when the 
truths are given, so, having one truth given and 
the connecting principle, it is able to go on to 


ascertain the otlier. Though all this is obvious, 
it was realized and acted on in the middle age 
with a distinctness unknown before ; all subjects 
of knowledge were viewed as parts of one vast 
system, each with its own place in it, and from 
knowing one, another was inferred. Not indeed 
always rightly inferred, because the art might 
be less perfect than the science, the instrument 
than the theory and aim ; but I am speaking of 
the principle of the scholastic method, of which 
Saints and Doctors were the teachers; — such I 
conceive it to be, and Abelard was the ill-fated 
logician who had a principal share in bringing it 
into operation. 

Others will consider the great St. Anselm and 
the school of Bee, as the proper source of Scho- 
lasticism ; I am not going to discuss the question ; 
any how, Abelard, and not St. Anselm, was the 
Professor at the University of Paris, and of 
Universities I am speaking; any how, Abelard 
illustrates the strength and the weakness of the 
principle of advertising and communicating 
knowledge for its own sake, which I have called 
the University principle, whether he is, or is not, 
the first of scholastic philosophers or scholastic 
theologians. And, though I could not speak 


of him at all without mentioning the subject of 
his teaching, yet, after all, it is of him, and 
of his teaching itself, that I am going to speak, 
whatever that might be which he actually taught. 
Since Charlemagne's time the schools of 
Paris had continued, with various fortunes, 
faithful, as far as the age admitted, to the old 
learning, as other schools elsewhere, when, in 
the eleventh century, the famous school of Bee 
began to develop the powers of logic in forming 
a new philosophy. As the inductive method 
rose in Bacon, so did the logical in the medieval 
schoolmen; and Aristotle, the most compre- 
hensive intellect of Antiquity, as the one who 
had conceived the sublime idea of mapping the 
whole field of knowledge, and subjecting all 
things to one profound analysis, became the pre- 
siding master in their lecture halls. It was 
at the end of the eleventh century that William 
of Champeaux founded the celebrated Abbey 
of St. Victor under the shadow of St. Gene- 
vieve, and by the dialectic methods which he 
introduced into his teaching, has a claim to have 
commenced the work of forming the University 
out of the Schools of Paris. For one at least, 
out of the two characteristics of a University, 


he prepared the way; for, though the schools 
were not pubUc till after his day, so as to admit 
laymen as well as clerks, and foreigners as well 
as natives of the place, yet the logical principle 
of constructing all sciences into one system, 
implied of course a recognition of all the 
sciences that are comprehended in it. Of this 
William of Champeaux, or de Campellis, Abe- 
lard was the pupil ; he had studied the dialectic 
art elsewhere, before he offered himself for his 
instructions; and, in the course of two years, 
when as yet he had only reached the age of 
twenty-two, he made such progress, as to be 
capable of quarrelling with his master, and 
setting up a school for himself 

This school of Abelard was first situated in 
the royal castle of Melun; then at Corbeil, 
which was nearer to Paris, and where he at- 
tracted to himself a considerable number of 
hearers. His labours had an injurious effect 
upon his health; and at length he withdrew 
for two years to his native Britanny. Whether 
other causes cooperated in this withdrawal, I 
think, is not known ; but, at the end of the two 
years, we find him returning to Paris, and 
renewing his attendance on the lectures of 


William, who was by this time a monk. Rhe- 
toric was the subject of the lectures he now 
heard ; and after awhile the pupil repeated with 
greater force and success his former treatment of 
his teacher. He held a public disputation with 
him, got the victory, and reduced him to silence. 
The school of William was deserted, and its 
master himself became an instance of the vicis- 
situdes incident to that gladiatorial wisdom (as 
I may style it) which was then eclipsing the 
old Benedictine method of the Seven Arts. 
After a time, Abelard found his reputation 
sufficient to warrant him in setting up a school 
himself on Mount St. Genevieve; whence he 
waged incessant war against the unwearied logi- 
cian, who by this time had rallied his forces to ' 
repel the young and ungrateful adventurer who 
had raised his hand against him. 

Great things are done by devotion to one 
idea; there is one class of geniuses, who would 
never be what they are, could they perceive 
two. The calm philosophical mind, which con- 
templates parts without denying the whole, and 
the whole without confusing the parts, is noto- 
riously indisposed to action ; whereas single and 
simple views arrest the mind, and hurry it on 


to carry them out. Thus, men of one idea and 
nothing more, whatever their merit, must be to 
a certain extent narrow-minded; and it is not 
wonderful that Abelard's devotion to the new 
philosophy made him undervalue the Seven 
Arts out of which it had grown. He felt it 
impossible so to honour what was now to be 
added, as not to dishonour what existed before. 
He would not suffer the Arts to have their own 
use, since he had found a new instrument for a 
new purpose. So he opposed the reading of 
the Classics. The monks had opposed them 
before him; but this is little to our present 
purpose; it was the duty of men, who abjured 
the gifts of this world on the principle of mor- 
tification, to deny themselves literature just as 
they would deny themselves particular friend- 
ships or scientific music. The doctrine which 
Abelard introduced and represents was founded 
on a difierent basis. He did not recognize in 
the poets of antiquity any other merit than that 
of furnishing an assemblage of elegant phrases 
and figures ; and accordingly he asks why they 
should not be banished from the city of God, 
since Plato banished them from his own com- 
monwealth. The animus of this language is 


clear, when we turn to the pages of John of 
Salisbury and Peter of Blois, who were cham- 
pions of the ancient learning. We find them 
complaining that the careful " getting up", as we 
now call it, " of books", was growing out of 
fashion. Youths once studied critically the text 
of poets or philosophers; they got them by 
heart; they analyzed their arguments; they 
noted down their fallacies; they were closely 
examined in the matters which had been 
brought before them in lecture ; they composed. 
But now, another teaching was coming in; 
students were promised truth in a nutshell; 
they intended to get possession of the sum-total 
of philosophy in less than two or three years ; 
and facts were apprehended, not in their sub- 
stance and details, by means of living and, as it 
were, personal documents, but in dead abstracts 
and tables. Such were the reclamations to 
which the new Logic gave occasion. 

These, however, are lesser matters ; we have 
a graver quarrel with Abelard than that of his 
undervaluing the Classics. As I have said, my 
main object here is not what he taught, but why 
and how, and how he lived. Now it is certain, 
his activity was stimulated by nothing very 


liigli, but by something very earthly and sordid. 
I grant there is nothing morally wrong in the 
mere desire to rise in the world, ■ though Am- 
bition and it are twin sisters. I should not 
blame Abelard merely for wishing to distin- 
guish himself at the University ; but when he 
makes the ecclesiastical state the instrument of 
his ambition, mixes up spiritual matters with 
temporal, and aims at a bishopric through the 
medium of his logic, he joins together things 
incompatible, and cannot complain of being 
censured. It is he himself, who tells us, unless 
my memory plays me false, that the circum- 
stance of William of Champeaux being pro- 
moted to the see of Chalons, was an incentive 
to him to pursue the same path with an eye 
to the same reward. Accordingly, we next 
hear of his attending the theological lectures of 
a certain master of William's, named Anselm, 
an old man, whose school was situated at Laon. 
This person had a great reputation in his day ; 
John of Salisbury, speaking of him in the next 
generation, calls him the doctor of doctors; he 
had been attended by students from Italy and 
Germany; but the age had advanced since he 
was in his prime, and Abelard was disappointed 


in a teacher, who had been good enough for 
William. He left Anselm, and began to lecture 
on the prophet Ezekiel on his own resources. 

Now came the time of his great popularity, 
which was more than his head could bear; 
which dizzied him, took him off his legs, and 
whirled him to his destruction. I spoke in my 
foregoing chapter of those three qualities of true 
wisdom, which a University, absolutely and 
nakedly considered, apart from the safeguards 
which constitute its integrity, is sure to compro- 
mise. Wisdom, says the inspired writer, is de- 
sursum, is pudica, is pacijica, " from above, 
chaste, peaceable". We have already seen 
enough of Abelard's career to understand that 
his wisdom, instead of being " pacifica", was 
ambitious and contentious. An Apostle speaks 
of the tongue both as a blessing and as a curse. 
It may be the beginning of a fire, he says, a 
" Universitas iniquitatis" ; and alas ! such did it 
become in the mouth of the gifted Abelard. 
His eloquence was wonderful; he dazzled his 
contemporaries, says Fulco, " by the brilliancy 
of his genius, the sweetness of his eloquence, 
the ready flow of his language, and the subtlety 
of his knowledge". People came to him from 


all quarters ; — from Rome, in spite of mountains 
and robbers; from England, in spite of tlie sea; 
from Flanders and Germany; from Normandy, 
and the remote districts of France ; from Angers 
and Poitiers; from Navarre by the Pyrenees, 
and from Spain, besides the students of Paris 
itself; and among those, who sought his instruc- 
tions now or afterwards, were the great lumi- 
naries of the schools in the next generation. 
Such were Peter of Poitiers, Peter Lombard, 
John of Salisbury, Arnold of Brescia, Ivo, and 
Geoffrey of Auxerre. It was too much for a 
weak head and heart, weak in spite of intellec- 
tual power; for vanity will possess the head, 
and worldliness the heart, of the man, however 
gifted, whose wisdom is not an effluence of the 
Eternal Light. 

True wisdom is not only " pacifica", it is 
"pudica"; chaste as well as peaceable. Alas 
for Abelard ! a second disgrace, deeper than 
ambition, is his portion now. The strong 
man, — the Samson of the schools in the wild- 
ness of his course, the Solomon in the fasci- 
nation of his genius, — shivers and falls before 
the temptation which overcame that mighty 
pair, the most excelling in body and in mind. 


Desire of wine, and all delicious drinks, 
Wliich many a famous warrior overturns. 
Thou couldst repress ; nor did the dancing ruby 
Sparkling outpour'd, the flavour or the smell, 
Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men, 
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream. 
But what avail'd this temperance, not complete, 
Against another object more enticing ? 
What boots it at one gate to make defence. 
And at another to let in the foe, 
Effeminately vanquished ? 

In a time when Colleges were unknown, and 
the young scholar was commonly thrown upon 
the dubious hospitality of a great city, Abelard 
might even be thought careful of his honour, 
that he went to lodge with an old ecclesiastic, 
had not his host's niece Eloisa lived with him. 
A more subtle snare was laid for him than beset 
the heroic champion or the all-accomplished 
monarch of Israel; for sensuality came upon 
him under the guise of intellect, and it was the 
high mental endowments of Eloisa, who became 
his pupil, speaking in her eyes, and thrilling on 
her tongue, which were the intoxication and the 
deHrium of Abelard 

He is judged, he is punished ; — but he is not 
reclaimed. True wisdom is not only " pacifica". 


not only " pudica" ; it is " desursum" too. It is 
a revelation from above ; it knows heresy as little 
as it knows strife or licence. But Abelard, who 
had run the career of earthly wisdom in two of 
its phases, now is destined to represent its third. 
It is at the famous Abbey of St. Denis that 
we find him languidly rising from his dream of 
sin, and the suffering that followed. The bad 
dream is cleared away ; clerks come to him, and 
the Abbot, — begging him to lecture still, for love 
now, as for gain before. Once more his school 
is thronged by the curious and the studious; 
and at length a rumour spreads, that Abelard is 
exploring the way to some novel view on the 
subject of the Most Holy Trinity. Wherefore 
is hardly clear, but about the same time the 
monks drive him away from the place of refiige 
he had gained. He betakes himself to a certain 
cell, and his pupils follow him. " I betook 
myself to a certain cell", he says, " wishing to 
give myself to the schools, as was my custom. 
Thither so great a multitude of scholars flocked, 
that there was neither room to house them, nor 
firuits of the earth to feed them". Such was the 
enthusiasm of the student, such the attraction of 


the teacher, when knowledge was advertised 
freely, and its market opened. 

Next he is in Champagne, in a delightful 
solitude near Nogent in the diocese of Troyes. 
Here the same phenomenon presents itself, 
which is so frequent in his history. " When 
the scholars knew it", he says, " they began to 
crowd thither from all parts ; and, leaving other 
cities and strongholds, they were content to 
dwell in the wilderness. For spacious houses 
they framed for themselves small tabernacles, 
and for delicate food they put up with wild 
herbs. Secretly did they whisper among them- 
selves : ' Behold, the whole world is gone out 
after him !' When, however, my Oratory could 
not hold even a moderate portion of them, then 
they were forced to enlarge it, and to build it 
up with wood and stone". He called the place 
his Paraclete, because it had been his conso- 

I do not know why I need follow his Hfe 
further. I have said enough to illustrate the 
course of one, who may be called the founder, 
or at least the first great name, of the Parisian 
Schools. After the events I have mentioned he 


is found in Lower Britanny ; then, being about 
forty-eight years of age, in the Abbey of St. 
Gildas; then with St. Genevieve again. He 
had to sustain the fiery eloquence of a Saint, 
directed against him ; he had to present himself 
before two Councils; he had to burn the book 
which had given offence to pious ears. His last 
two years were spent at Clugni on his way to 
Rome. The home of the weary, the hospital of 
the sick, the school of the erring, the tribunal of 
the penitent, is the city of St. Peter. He did 
not reach it; but he is said to have retracted 
what had given scandal in his writings, and to 
have made an edifying end. He died at the 
age of sixty-two, in the year of grace 1142. 

In reviewing his career, the career of so great 
an intellect so miserably thrown away, we are 
reminded of the famous words of the dying 
scholar and jurist, which are a lesson to us all : 
'* Heu, vitam perdidi, operose nihil agendo". 
A happier lot be ours ! ^ 





The most prominent distinction between the 
primitive and the medieval schools, as I have 
abeady many times said, was, that the latter had 
a range and system in their subjects and the 
manner of their teaching, which were unknown 
to the former. The primitive schools, for in- 
stance, lectured from Scripture with the com- 
ments of the Fathers ; but the medieval schools 
created the science of theology. The primitive 
schools collected and transmitted the canonical 
rules and traditions of the Church ; the medieval 
schools taught the science of canon law. And 
so as regards secular studies, the primitive schools 
professed the three sciences of grammar, rhe- 
toric, and logic, which make up the Trivium, 
and the four branches of the mathematics, arith- 
metic, geometry, astronomy, and music, which 
make up the Quadrivium. On the other hand, 
the medieval schools recognized philosophy as a 


science of sciences, which included, located, 
connected, and used all kinds and modes of 
knowledge; they enlarged the sphere and ap- 
plication of logic; and they added civil law, 
natural history, and medicine to the curriculum. 
It followed, moreover, from this, that while, 
on the one hand, they were led to divide their 
work among a number of Professors, they 
opened their doors on the other to laity as well 
as clergy, and to foreigners as well as natives. 

Of schools founded on this magnificent idea 
and answering to a profession so comprehensive 
and so engrossing, there could be but a few 
specimens; for instance, Paris, Oxford, and 
Bologna. These, too, owed their characteristic 
splendour in no small measure to the zeal and 
learning of the Friars, especially the Domini- 
cans; accordingly, their great era was the 
thirteenth century. But various causes came 
into operation to modify the University type, 
as I have described it, or at least its applications 
and manifestations, when that century had passed 
away. The first movements of new agents, 
both in the physical and social world, are com- 
monly more energetic and more successful than 
those which follow; and this remark includes 


both Universities themselves, and the religious 
bodies which were their prominent supporters. 
New orders of religion commonly achieve their 
greatest works in their first fervour. The very- 
success too of tlic experiment would tend to 
impair the University type by multiplying 
copies of it; for an imperial power (and a Uni- 
versity was such in the intellectual world), 
must be solitary to be imperial. As, then, the 
utility of the new schools was recognized, they 
became more numerous, and their respective 
territories less extensive. Moreover, it was na- 
tural, that, as country after country woke up 
into existence and assumed an individuality, 
each in turn should desire a University of its 
own, that is, an institution indigenous and 
national. Peace between states could not always 
be maintained; the elements were beyond the 
traveller's control ; and a safe-conduct could not 
secure the pilgrim scholar from bandits and 
pirates. The mutual divergence and distinctive 
formation of languages and of national character, 
national histories, national pride, national anti- 
pathies, would all carry forward the course of 
events in the same direction ; and the Collegiate 
system, of which I shall presently speak, coope- 


rated In making a University a local institution, 
and in embodying it among the establishments 
of the nation. Hence it came to pass, that 
Oxford, for instance, in course of time was not 
exactly the Oxford of the thirteenth century. 
Not that the great and primary idea of a Uni- 
versity was not sufficiently preserved; it was 
still a light set upon a hill, or a sort of ecume- 
nical doctor on all subjects of knowledge, human 
and divine ; but it was directed and coloured by 
the political and social influences to which it 
was accidentally exposed. This change began 
about the commencement of the fourteenth 
century; however, I am not going to dwell 
upon it here; for the foregoing reference 
to it is only introductory to a short notice, 
which I propose now to give, of the ancient 
University of Dublin or of Ireland, set up at this 
very era, — a subject to which the mind naturally 
reverts just at this moment, when we are now 
on the point of laying down the rudiments of 
its revival or reconstruction upon the old foun- 
dations, on a grander scale, and, as we trust and 
believe, with a happier prospect for the future. 

If by " University" is meant a large national 
School, conducted on the basis of the old 


Roman education, it was impossible that such 
should not have existed in a people so literary 
as the Irish, from the very time that St. Patrick 
brought among them Christianity and civili- 
zation. Accordingly, we hear of great seats of 
learning of this description in various parts of 
the country. The school of Armagh is said at 
one time to have numbered as many as seven 
thousand students ; and tradition assigns a Uni- 
versity town to the locality where the Seven 
Churches still preserve the memory of St. 
Kevin. Foreigners, at least Anglo-Saxons, fre- 
quented such schools, and, so far, they certainly 
had a University character ; but that they oflPered 
to their pupils more than the glosses on the 
sacred text and the collections of canons, and the 
Trivium and the Quadrivium, which were the 
teaching of the scliools of the Continent, it is 
difficult to suppose ; or that the national genius 
for philosophising, which afterwards anticipated 
or originated the scholastic period, should at 
this era have come into exercise. When that 
period came, the Irish, so far having its charac- 
teristic studies already domiciled among them, 
were forced to go abroad for their prosecution. 
They went to Paris or to Oxford for the living 


traditions, which are the ordinary means by 
■which religion and morals, science and art, are 
diffused over communities, and propagated from 
land to land. In Oxford, indeed, there was 
from the earliest time even a street called 
" Irishman's Street", and the Irish were included 
there under the " Nation " of the Southern 
English ; but they gained what they sought in 
that seat of learning at the expense of discomforts 
which were the serious drawback of the first 
age of Universities. Lasting feuds and inces- 
sant broils marked the presence of Irish, Welsh, 
Scotch, English, and French in one place, at a 
time when the Collegiate System was not 
formed. To this great evil was added the very 
circumstance that home was far away, and the 
danger of the passage across the channel, which 
would diminish the number, while it illustrated 
the literary zeal, of the foreign students. And 
an additional source of discontent was found in 
the feeling of incongruity, that Ireland, with 
her literary antecedents, should be without a 
University of her own ; and, moreover, as time 
went on, in the feeling which existed at Rome, 
in favour of the multiplication of such centres of 
science and learninor. 


Another perfectly distinct cause was in opera- 
tion, to which I was just now alluding. The 
Dominicans, and other Orders of the age, had 
had a preeminent place in the history of the 
Universities of Paris and Oxford, and had done 
more than any other teachers to give the know- 
ledge taught in them their distinctive form. 
When then these Orders came into Ireland, it 
was only to be expected that they should set 
about the same work there, which had marked 
their presence in England and France. Ac- 
cordingly, at the end of the thirteenth century, 
the question of a University in Ireland had 
been mooted, arfd its estabHshment was com- 
menced in the first years of the fourteenth. 

This was the date of the foundation of the 
Universities of Avignon and Perugia, which 
was followed by that of Cahors, Grenoble, Pisa, 
and Prague. It Was the date at which Oxford 
in consequence lost its especial preeminence in 
science ; and it was the date, I say, at which 
the University of Dublin was projected and 
begun. In 1311 or 1312, John Lech or Leach, 
Archbishop of Dublin, obtained of Clement the 
Fifth a brief for the undertaking ; in which, as 
is usual in such documents, the Pope gives the 


reasons wliich have induced him to decide upon 
it. He begins hy setting forth the manifold, or 
rather complex, benefits of which a University 
is the instrument; as father of the faithful, he 
recognizes it as his office to nurture learned sons, 
who, by the illumination of their knowledge, 
may investigate the divine law, protect justice 
and truth, illustrate the faith, promote good 
government, teach the ignorant, confirm the 
weak, and restore the fallen. This office he is 
only fulfilling, in receiving favourably the sup- 
plication of his venerable brother, John de 
Lecke, who has brought before him the neces- 
sities of his country, in which, as well as in 
Scotland, Man, and Norway, the countries 
nearest to Ireland, a " Universitas Scholarum", 
or " Generale Studium", is not to be found ; — the 
consequence being, that though there are in 
Ireland some doctors and bachelors in theology, 
and other graduates in grammar, these are after 
all few in comparison of the number which the 
country might fairly produce. The Pope pro- 
ceeds to express his desire, that from the land 
itself should grow up men skilled and fruitful 
in the sciences, who would make it to be a 
well-watered garden, to the exaltation of the 


Catholic faith, the honour of Mother Church, 
and the advantage of the faithful population. 
And with this view he erects in Dublin a Stu- 
dium Generale in every science and faculty, to 
continue for " perpetual times". 

And, I suppose no greater benefit could have 
been projected for Ireland at that date, than 
such a bond of union and means of national 
strength, as an Irish University. But the 
parties, who had originated the undertaking, had 
also to carry it out : and at the moment of which 
I am speaking, by the fault neither of Prelate 
nor laity, nor by division, nor by intemperance 
or jealousy, nor by wrong-headedness within the 
fold, nor by maHgnant interference from without, 
but by the will of heaven and the course of 
nature, the work was supended ; — for John de 
Lecke fell ill and died the next year, and his 
successor, Alexander de Bicknor, was not in 
circumstances to take up his plans at the 
moment, where de Lecke had left them. 

Seven years passed ; and then he turned his 
mind to their prosecution. Acting under the 
authority of the brief of Clement, and with 
the sanction and confirmation of the reigning 
Pontiff, John the Twenty-second, he published 



an instrument, in which he lays down on his 
own authority the provisions and dispositions 
which he had determined for the nascent Uni- 
versity. He addresses himself to " the Masters 
and Scholars of our University", and that " with 
the consent and assent of our chapters of Holy 
I Trinity and St. Patrick". I think I am correct 
in saying, though I write without book, that he 
makes no mention of a Rector. If not, the 
Chancellor probably, whom he does mention, 
took his place, or was his synonyme, as in some 
other Universities. This Chancellor the Regent 
Masters were to have the privilege of choosing, 
with a proviso that he was a " Doctor in sacrsl 
pagina", or in "jure canonico", with a prefe- 
rence of members of the two chapters. He 
was to take the oath of fidelity to the Arch- 
bishop. The Regent Masters elected the Proc- 
tors also, who were two in number, and who 
supplied the place of the Chancellor in his 
absence. The Chancellor was invested with 
jurisdiction over the members of the Univer- 
sity, and had a court to which causes belonged 
in which they were concerned. There was, 
moreover, a University chest, supplied by means 
of the fines which were the result of his de- 


clsions. Degrees were to be conferred upon 
certificate of the Masters of the Faculty in 
which the candidate was proceeding. Statutes 
were to be passed by the Chancellor in council 
of Masters Regent and Non-regent, subject to 
the confinnation of the Archbishop. The 
Schools of the Friars Preachers (or Dominicans) 
and of the Minorites (or Franciscans) were re-^ 
cognized in their connection with the Univer- 
sity, the Archbishop reserving to himself the 
right of appointing a Lecturer in Holy Scrip" 

Such was the encouraging and hopeful start of 
the University; the Dean of St. Patrick was 
advanced to the Doctorate in Canon Law, and 
was created its first Chancellor ; its first Doctors 
in Theology were two Dominicans and one 
Franciscan. The Canons of the Cathedral seem 
to have been its acting members, and filled the 
offices of a place of education without pre- 
judicing their capitular duties. However, it 
soon appeared that there was somewhere a hitch, 
and the work did not make progress. It has 
been supposed with reason, that under the un- 
happy circumstances of the time, the University 
could not make head against the necessary diflS.- 


culties of a commencement. Another and more 
definite cause which is assigned for the failure, 
is the want of funds. The Irish people were 
poor, and unable to meet the expenses involved 
in the establishment of a great seat of learning, 
at a time when other similar institutions already- 
existed. The time had passed when Univer- 
sities grew up out of the enthusiasm of teachers 
and the curiosity and eagerness of students ; or, 
if these causes still were in operation, they had 
been directed and flowed upon seats of learning 
already existing in other countiies. It was the 
age of national schools, of colleges and endow- 
ments; and, though the civil power appeared 
willing to take its part in foundations of this 
nature in behalf of the new undertaking, it did 
not go much further than to enrich it now and 
then with a stray lectureship, and wealthy 
prelates or nobles were not forthcoming in that 
age, capable of conceiving and executing works 
in the spirit of Ximenes two centuries after- 
wards in Spain. 

Yet down to the very time of Ximenes, and 
beyond it, continual and praiseworthy efforts 
were made, on the part both of the Church and 
of the State, to accomplish a work which was 


important in proportion to its difficulty. In 
1358 the clergy and scholars of Ireland repre- 
sented to Edward the Third the necessity under 
which they lay of cultivating theology, canon 
law, and the other clerical sciences, and the 
serious impediments in the way of these studies 
which lay in the expense of travel and the 
dangers of the sea to those wh(T had no Univer- 
sity of their own. In answer to this request, the 
king seems to have founded a lectureship in 
theology ; and he indirectly encouraged the 
University schools by issuing his letters-patent, 
giving special protection and safe-conduct to 
English as well as Irish, of whatever degree, 
with their servants and attendants, their goods 
and habiliments, in going, residing, and return- 
ing. A few years later, in 1364, Lionel, Duke 
of Clarence, founded a preachership and lecture- 
ship in the Cathedral, to be held by an Augus- 

A further attempt in behalf of a University 
was made a century later. In 1465, the Irish 
Parliament, under the presidency of Thomas 
Geraldine, Earl of Desmond, Vicegerent of 
George, Duke of Clarence, Lieutenant of the 
English King, had erected a University at 


Drogheda, and endowed it with the privileges of 
the University of Oxford. This attempt, how- 
ever, in like manner was rendered abortive by 
the want of funds ; but it seems to have suggested 
a new effort in favour of the elder institution at 
Dublin, which at this time could scarcely be said 
to exist. Ten years after the Parliament in 
question, the Dominican and other Friars pre- 
ferred a supplication to Pope Sixtus the Fourth, 
in which they represent that in Ireland there is 
no University to which Masters, Doctors of Law, 
and Scholars may resort ; that it is necessary to 
go to England at a great expense and peril ; and 
consequently they ask for leave to erect a Uni- 
versity in the metropolitan city. The Pope 
granted their request, and, though nothing fol- 
lowed, the attempt is so far satisfactory, as evi- 
dencing the perseverance of the Irish clergy in 
aiming at what they felt to be a benefit of su- 
preme importance to their country. 

Nor was this the last of such attempts, nor 
were the secular behind the regular clergy in 
zeal for a University. As late as the reign of 
Henry the Seventh, in the year 1496, Walter 
Fitzsimon, Archbishop of Dublin, in provincial 
Synod, settled an annual contribution to be 


levied for seven years in order to provide salaries 
for the Lecturers. And, though, we have no re- 
cord, I beheve, of the effect of this measure, yet, 
when the chapter was reestablished in the reign 
of Philip and Mary, the allusion made in the 
legal instrument to the loss which the youthful 
members of society had sustained in its suppres- 
sion, may be taken to show, that certain benefits 
had resulted from its chairs, though the educa- 
tion which they gave was not of that character 
which the name of a University demanded. 

Times axe changed since these attempts were 
made; and, while the causes no longer exist 
which operated in their failure, the object to- 
wards which they were directed has attained a 
moment, both in itself and in its various bear- 
ings, which could never have been predicted in 
the fourteenth or the sixteenth century. Ireland 
is no longer the conquered possession of a 
foreign king ; it is, as in the primitive times, the 
centre of a great Catholic movement and of a 
world-wide missionary enterprise. Nor does the 
Holy See simply lend an ear to the project of 
others : it originates the undertaking. 




Colleges, and Colleges for the advancement of 
science, were not altogether a medieval idea. 
To say nothing else, it is obvious to refer to the- 
Museum of the Ptolemies at Alexandria, of 
which I spoke in an earlier chapter. The Sara- 
cens too founded Colleges for learned education 
at Cordova, Granada, and Malaga ; and these ob- 
tained a great reputation. Yet it is an idea, 
which has been brought out, and familiarized to 
history, and recognized in political institutions, 
and completed in its parts, during the era of 
Universities, with a fulness which almost allows 
us to claim it as belonging to the new civili- 
zation. By a College, I suppose, is meant, not 
merely a body of men living together in one 
dwelling, but belonging to one establishment. 
In its very notion, the word suggests to us 
position, authority, and stability; and again, 



these attributes presuppose a foundation; and 
that foundation consists either in pubhc recog- 
nition, or in the possession of revenues, or in 
some similar advantage. If two or three indivi- 
duals live together, the community is not at 
once called a College ; but a charter, or an en- 
dowment, some legal status, or some ecclesias- 
tical privilege, is necessary to erect it into the 
Collegiate form. However, it does, I suppose, 
imply a community or convitto too; and, if so, 
it must be of a certain definite size : for, as soon 
as it exceeds in point of numbers, non-residence 
may be expected to follow. It is then a house- 
hold, and offers an abode to its members, and 
requires or involves the same virtuous and 
paternal discipline which is proper to a family 
and home. Moreover, as no family can subsist 
without a maintenance, and as children are de- 
pendent on their homes, so it is not unnatural that 
an endowment, which is, as I have said, suggested 
by the very idea of a College, should ordinarily 
be necessary for its actual carrying out. Still 
more necessary are buildings, and buildings of a 
prominent character ; for, whereas every family 
must have its dwelling, a family which has a 
recognized and official existence, must live in 



a sort of public building, which satisfies the eye, 
and is the enduring habitation of an enduring 

This view of a College, which I have not 
been attempting to prove but to deUneate, 
suggests to us the objects which a College is 
adapted to fulfil in a University. It is all, and 
does all, which is implied in the name of home. 
Youths, who have left the paternal roof, and 
travelled some hundred miles for the acquisition 
of knowledge, find an " altera Troja" and " si- 
raulata Pergama" at the end of their journey 
and in their place of temporary sojourn. Home 
is for the young, who know nothing of the 
world, and who would be forlorn and sad, if 
thrown upon it. It is the refuge of helpless 
boyhood, which would be famished and pine 
away, if it were not maintained by others. It 
is the providential shelter of the weak and 
inexperienced, who have to learn as yet to cope 
with the temptations which lie outside of it. 
It is the place of training for those who are not 
only ignorant, but have not yet learned how to 
learn, and who have to be taught, by careful 
individual trial, how to set about profiting by 
the lessons of a teacher. And it is the school 


of elementary studies, not of advanced; for 
such studies alone at best can boys apprehend 
and master. Moreover, it is the shrine of our 
best affections, the bosom of our fondest recol- 
lections, a spell upon our after life, a stay for 
world-weary mind and soul, wherever we are, 
till the end comes. Such are the attributes or 
offices of home, and like to these, in one or 
other sense and measure, are the attributes and 
offices of a College in a University. 

We may consider, historically speaking, that 
Colleges were but continuations, mutatis mu- 
tandis, of the schools which preceded the rise of 
Universities. These schools indeed were mo- 
nastic or at least clerical, and observed a reli- 
gious or an ecclesiastical rule ; so fax they were 
not simple Colleges, still they were devoted to 
study, and, at least sometimes, admitted laymen. 
They had two courses of instruction going on at 
once, attended by the inner classes and the 
out^r; of which the latter were filled by what 
would now be called easterns. Thus even in 
that early day the school of Rheims educated a 
certain number of noble youths ; and the same 
arrangement is reported of Bee also. 

And in matter of fact these monastic schools 

OXFORD. 325 

remained within the limits of the University, 
when it was set up, as they had been before, 
only of course more exclusively religious; for, 
as soon as the reception of laymen was found to 
be a part of the academical idea, the monasteries 
seemed to be relieved of the necessity of re- 
ceiving lay students within their walls. At 
first, those bodies only would have a place in 
the University which were already there ; but 
in process of time nearly every religious fra- 
ternity found it its interest to provide a College 
for its own subjects, and to have representatives 
in the Academical body. Thus in Paris, as 
soon as the Dominicans and Franciscans had 
thro^-n themselves into the new system, and had 
determined that their vocation did not hinder 
them from taking degrees, the Cistercians, under 
t]be headship of an Englishman, founded a 
College near St. Victor's ; and the Premonstrants 
followed their example. The Carmelites, being 
at first at a distance from St. Genevieve, were 
planted by a king of France close under her 
hill. The Benedictines were stationed in the 
famous Abbey of St. German, near the Uni- 
versity Pratum; the monks of Clugni and of 
Marmoutier had their respective houses also, 


and the former provided lecturers within their 
walls for the students. And in Oxford, in like 
manner, the Benedictines founded Durham Hall 
for their monks of the North of England, and 
Gloucester Hall for their monks of the South, 
on the respective sites of the present Trinity 
and Worcester Colleges. The Carmelites (to 
speak without book), were at Beaumont, the 
site of Henry the First's palace; and St. 
John's and Wadham Colleges are also on 
the sites of monastic establishments. Besides 
these, there were in Oxford houses of Do- 
minicans, Franciscans, Cistercians, and Augus- 

These several foundations, indeed, are of 
very different eras ; but, looking at the course of 
the history as a whole, we shall find that this 
class of scholastic houses preceded the rest. 
And if the new changes had stopped there, lay 
education would have suffered, not gained, by 
the rise of Universities; for it had the effect 
of multiplying, indeed, monastic halls, but of 
shutting their doors against all but monks more 
rigidly than before. The solitary strangers, 
who came up to Paris or Oxford from a far 
country, must have been stimulated by a most 

OXFORD. 327 

uncommon tKirst for knowledge, to persevere in 
spite of the discouragements by whicli tliey 
were surrounded. Some attempt indeed was 
made by tbe Professors to meet so obvious and 
so oppressive an evil. The former scholastic 
type had recognized one master, and one only, 
in a school, who professed in consequence the 
whole course of instruction without any assis- 
tant Tutors. The tradition of this system con- 
tinued ; and led in many instances to the for- 
mation of halls, inns, courts, or hostels, as they 
were variously called. That is, the Professor of 
the school kept house, and boarded his pupils. 
Thus we read of Torald schools in Oxford in 
the reign of Henry the Third, which had be- 
longed previously to one Master Richard Bacum, 
who had fitted up a large tenement, partly for 
lodging house, partly for lecture rooms. In 
like manner, early in the twelfth century, 
Theobald had as many as from sixty to a hun- 
dred scholars under his tuition, for whom he 
would necessarily be more or less answerable. 
A similar custom was pointed out in Athens, in 
an early chapter of this volume, where it was 
the occasion of a great deal of rivalry and can- 
vassing between the Professorial housekeepers, 


each being set upon obtaining as many lodgers 
as possible. And apparently a similar incon- 
venience had to be checked at Paris in the 
thirteenth century, though, whatever might be 
the incidental inconvenience, the custom itself, 
under the circumstances of the day, "was as ad- 
vantageous to the cause of study, as it was 
natural and obvious. 

But still lodging keepers, though Professors, 
must be paid, and how could poor scholars find 
the means of fulfilling so hard a condition ? And 
the length of time required for a University 
course hindered an evasion of its difiiculties by 
such shifts and expedients, as serve for passing 
a trying crisis or weathering a threatening 
season. The whole course, from the termi- 
nation of the grammatical studies to the licen- 
tiate, extended originally through twenty years ; 
though afterwards it was reduced to ten. If we 
are to consider the six years of the course in 
Arts to have been independent of this long 
space, the residence at the University is no 
longer a sojourn at the seat of learning, but 
becomes a sort of naturalization, yet without 
offering a home. 

The University itself had little or no funds, 

OXFORD. 329 

to meet tlie difficulty withal. At Oxford, it 
had no buildings of its own, but rented such as 
were indispensable for academical purposes, and 
these were of a miserable description. It had 
little or no ground belonging to it, and no 
endowments. It had not the means of being 
an Alma Mater to the young men who came 
thither for education. Some verses are quoted 
by Antony a Wood, apropos of the poor 
scholar, which describe both his enthusiastic 
love of study and the trial to which it was put. 
The following is a portion of them : — 

Parva domus, res ipsa minor, contraxit utrumque 
Immensus tractusque diu sub Pallade fervor, 
Et logices jucundus amor .... 
Pauperies est tota domus, desuevit ad illos 
Ubertas venisse lares ; nee visitat aegrum 
Copia Parnassum ; sublimior advolat aulas, 
His ignota casis. 

Accordingly, one of the earliest movements 
in the University, almost as early as the en- 
trance into it of the monastic bodies, was that of 
providing maintenance for poor scholars. The 
authors of such charity hardly aimed at giving 
more than the bare necessaries of life, — food, 
lodging, and clothing, — so as to make a life of 


study possible. Comfort or animal satisfaction 
can hardly be said to have entered into the 
scope of their benefactions ; and we shall gain a 
lively impression of the sufferings of the unaided 
student, by having a sketch presented to us of 
his rude and hardy life even when a member of 
a College. From an account which has been 
preserved in one of the Colleges of Cambridge, 
we are able to extract the following liorarium 
of a student's day. He got up between four 
and five ; from five to six he assisted at Mass, 
and heard an exhortation. He then studied or 
attended the schools till ten, which was the 
dinner hour. The meal, which seems also to 
have been a breakfast, was not sumptuous; 
it consisted of beef, in small messes for four 
persons, and a pottage made of its gravy and 
oatmeal. From dinner to five p.m., he either 
studied, or gave instruction to others, when he 
went to supper, which was the principal meal 
of the day, though scarcely more plentiful than 
dinner. Afterwards, problems were discussed 
and other studies pursued, till nine or ten ; and 
then half an hour was devoted to walking 
or running about, that they might not go 
to bed with cold feet; — the expedient of 



hearth or stove for the purpose was out of the 

However, poor as was the fare, the collegiate 
life was a blessing in many other ways far more 
important than meat and drink; and it was 
the object of pious benefactions for centuries. 
Hence the munificence of Robert Capet, as 
early as 1050, even before the canons of St. 
Genevieve and the monks of St. Victor had 
commenced the University of Paris. His foun- 
dation was sufficient for as many as one hun- 
dred poor clerks. Another was St. Catherine 
in the Valley, founded by St. Louis, in conse- 
quence of a vow, which his grandfather, Philip 
Augustus, had died before executing. Another 
and later was the College Bonorum Puerorum, 
which is assigned to the year 1245. Such too, 
in its original intention, was the Harcurianum, 
or Harcourt College, the famous College of 
Navarre, the more famous Sorbonne, and the 
Montague College. 

These Colleges, as was natural, were often 
provincial or diocesan, being founded by bene- 
factors of a particular locality for their own 
people. Sometimes too they were connected 
with one or other of the Nations of the Uni- 


verslty; I think the Harcurianum, just men- 
tioned, was founded for the Normans ; such too 
was the Dacian, founded for the Danes ; and the 
Swedish; to which may be added the Burses 
provided for the Italians, the Lombards, the 
Germans, and the Scotch. In Bologna there 
was the greater College of St. Clement for the 
Spaniards, and the CoUegio Sondi for the Hun- 
garians. As to Diocesan or Provincial Colleges, 
such was Laon Colleofe, for poor scholars of 
the diocese of Laon; the College of Bayeux, 
for scholars of the dioceses of Mons and Angers ; 
the Colleges of Narbonne, of Arras, of Lisieux, 
and various others. Such too in Oxford at 
present are Queen's College, founded in favour 
of north countrymen, and Jesus College for the 
Welsh. Such are the fellowships, founded in 
various Colleges, for natives of particular coun- 
ties; and such the fellowships or scholarships 
for founder's kin. In Paris, in like manner, 
Cardinal de Dormans founded a College for 
more than twenty students, with a preference in 
favour of his own family. A Society of a 
peculiar kind was founded in the very begin- 
ning of the thirteenth century. Baldwin, Count 
of Flanders, at that time Emperor of Con^tan- 

OXFORD. 333 

tinople, is said to have established a Greek 
College with a view to train up the youth of 
Constantinople in devotion to the Holy See. 

When I said that there were graver reasons 
than the need of maintenance, for establishing 
Colleges and Burses for poor scholars, it may be 
easily understood that I alluded to the moral 
evils, of which a University, without homes and 
guardians for the young, would infallibly be the 
occasion and the scene. These are so intelli- 
gible, and so much a matter of history, and so 
often illustrated, whether from the medieval or 
the modern continental Universities, that they 
need not occupy our attention here. Whatever 
licentiousness of conduct there is at Oxford and 
Cambiidge now, where the Collegiate system is 
in force, does but suggest to us how fatal must 
be the strength of those impulses to disorder 
and riot when unrestrained, which are so im- 
perfectly controlled even when submitted to 
an anxious discipHne. Leaving this head of 
the subject, I think it better to turn to the con- 
sideration of an important innovation on the 
character and drift of academical foundations, 
Avhich took place in the fifteenth century, wlign 
political changes in the nations of Europe 


brought with them corresponding changes in 
their Universities. 

I have lately alluded to these changes in 
introducing the subject of the ancient Univer- 
sity of Ireland. I said that the multiplication 
of Universities, the growth of nationalism, the 
increasing appreciation of peace and of the 
conveniences of life, the separation of languages, 
the Collegiate system itself, and similar and 
cognate causes, tended to give these institutions 
a local, political, and, I may now add, aristo- 
cratic character. At first Universities were al- 
most democracies: Colleges tended to break 
their anarchical spirit, introduced ranks and 
gave the example of laws, and trained up a set 
of students, who, as being morally and intellec- 
tually superior to other members of the aca- 
demical body, became the depositaries of aca- 
demical power and influence. Moreover, lear- 
ning was no longer thought unworthy of 
a gentleman; and, though the nobles of an 
earlier period had not disdained to send their 
sons to Lanfranc or Vacarius, yet now it 
became a matter of custom, that young men of 
rank should have a University education. Thiis, 



even In the charter of the 29th of Edward the 
Third, we read that " to the University a mul- 
titude of nobles, gentry, strangers, and others 
continually flock" ; and towards the end of the 
century, we find Henry of Monmouth, after- 
wards the Fifth, as a young man, a sojourner at 
Queen's College, Oxford. But it was in the 
next century, of which Henry has made glo- 
rious the first years, that Colleges were pro- 
vided, not for the poor, but for the noble. 
Many Colleges too, which had been originally 
for the poor, opened their gates to the rich, not 
as fellows or foundation-students, but as simple 
lodgers, or what are now called independent 
members, such as monasteries might have re- 
ceived in a former age. This was especially the 
case with the College of Navarre at Paris ; and 
the change has continued remarkably impressed 
upon Oxford and Cambridge even down to 
this day, with this additional peculiarity, that, 
while the influence of aristocracy upon those 
Universities is not less than it was, the influence 
of other political classes has been introduced 
into the academic cloisters also. Never has 
learned institution been more directly political 
and national than the University of Oxford. 


Some of its Colleges represent the talent of the 
nation, others its rank and fashion, others its 
wealth; others have been the organs of the 
government of the day ; while others, and the 
majority, represent one or other division, chiefly 
local, of the country party. That all this has 
rather destroyed, than subserved, the University 
itself, which Colleges originally were instituted 
to complete, I will not take upon myself to 
deny; but good comes out of many things 
which are in the way to evil, and this anta- 
gonism of the Collegiate to the University prin- 
ciple was not worked out, till Colleges had first 
rendered signal service to the University, and 
that, not only by completing it in those points 
where the University was weak, but even cor- 
roborating it in those in which it was strong. 
The whole nation, brought into the University 
by means of the Colleges, gave the University 
itself a vigour and a stability which the abundant 
influx of foreigners had not been able to secure. 
As in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries 
French, German, and Italian students had 
flocked to the University of Oxford, and made 
its name famous in distant lands, so in the 
fifteenth, all ranks and classes of the nation 

OXFORD. 337 

furnished it with pupils, and what was wanting 
in their number or variety, compared with the 
former era, was compensated by their splendour 
or political importance. At that time nobles 
moved only in state, and surrounded themselves 
with retainers and servants, with an ostentation 
which has now quite gone out of fashion. A 
writer, whom I have from time to time used, 
Huber, informs us, that, before the wars of the 
Roses, and when the aristocracy were more 
powerful than the king, each noble family sent 
up at least one son to Oxford with an ample 
retinue of followers. Nor were the towns in 
that age, less closely united to the University 
than the upper class, by reason of the numbers 
that belonged to the clergy, the popular cha- 
racter of that institution, and its intimate con- 
nection, as now, with the seat of learning. 
Thus town and country, high and low, north 
and south, had a common stake in the aca- 
demical institutions, and took a personal interest 
in the academical proceedings. The degree 
possessed a sort of indelible character, which all 
classes understood ; and the people at large were 
more or less partakers of a cultivation which the 
aristocracy were beginning to enjoy. And, 


though railroad travelling certainly did not then 
exist, communication between the students and 
their homes occurred with a frequency which 
could not be when they came from abroad ; and 
Oxford became in a peculiar way a national 
and political centre. Not only in vacations and 
term-time was there a stated ebbing and flowing 
of the academical youth, but messengers posted 
to and fro between Oxford and all parts of the 
country in all seasons of the year. So intimate 
was this connection, that Oxford became a sort 
of selected arena for the conflicts of the various 
interests of the nation, and a serious University 
strife was received far and wide as the presage 
of civil war. 

" Chronica si penses, cum pugnant Oxonienses, 
Post paucos menses, volat ira per Angliginenses". 

One may admire the position of a University, 
as a national centre, without any desire of re- 
newing, in this day or in Ireland, the particular 
mode in which that position was in former 
times manifested in England. Such an united 
action of the Collegiate and of the National 
principle, far from being prejudicial, was simply 
favourable to the principle of a University, It 

OXFORD. 339 

was a later age wticli sacrificed the University 
to the College. We must look to the last two 
or three centuries if we would witness the ascen- 
dency of the College idea in the English 
Universities, to the extreme prejudice, not 
indeed of its own peculiar usefulness (for that it 
has retained), but of the University itself. The 
author,* who gives us the above account of 
Oxford, and who is neither Catholic on the one 
hand, nor innovator on the existing state of 
things on the other, warming yet saddening at 
his own picture, ends by observing: "Those 
days never can return; for the plain reason 
that then men learned and taught by the living 
word, but now by the dead paper". 

What has been here drawn out from the 
history of Oxford, admits of ample illustration 
from the parallel history of Paris. We find 
Chancellor Gerson on one occasion remon- 
strating in the name of his University with the 
French king. " Shall the University", he says, 
" being what she is, shut her eyes and be silent? 

• Huber. Additional matter on the subject of Universities 
and Colleges will be found in Dr. Pusey's Collegiate and 
Professorial Teaching, and Mr. Buckingham's Bible in the 
Middle Ages. 


What should all France say, whose population 
she is ever exhorting, by means of her members, 
to patience and good obedience to the king and 
rulers? Does not she represent the universal 
realm, nay, the whole world? She is the 
vigorous seminary of the whole body politic, 
whence issue men of every kind of excellence. 
Therefore in behalf of the whole of France, of 
all states of men, of all her friends, who cannot 
be present here, she ought to expostulate and 
cry, ' Long live the king' "." 

There is one other historical peculiarity at- 
tached to Colleges, to which I will briefly allude 
before concluding. If Colleges, with their en- 
dowments and local interests, provincial or 
county, are necessarily, when compared with 
Universities, of a national character, it follows 
that the education which they will administer, 
will also be national, and adapted to all ranks 
and classes of the community. And if so, then 
again it follows, that they will be far more 
given to the study of the Arts than to the 
learned professions, or to any special class of 
pursuits at all ; and such in matter of fact has 
ever been the case. They have inherited under 

OXFORD, 341 

changed circumstances the position of the mo- 
nastic teaching founded by Charlemagne, and 
have continued its primitive tradition, through, 
and in spite of, the noble intellectual develop- 
ments, to which Universities have given occa- 
sion. The historical link between the Monas- 
teries and the Colleges have been the Nations, 
as some words of Antony a Wood about the 
latter suggest, and as the very name of " Nation" 
makes probable ; and indeed the Colleges were 
hardly more than the Nations formally estab- 
lished and endowed, with Provosts and Wardens 
in the place of Proctors. 

Bulaeus has some remarks on the subject of 
Colleges, which illustrate the points I have last 
insisted on, and several others which have 
already come before us. He says : " The Col- 
lege system had no slight influence in restoring 
Latin composition. Indeed Letters were publicly 
professed in Colleges, and that, not only by 
persons on the foundation, but by others also 
who lived within the walls, though external to 
the body, and who were admitted to the schools 
of the Masters and to the classes in a fixed 
order and by regulated steps. On the contrary, 
we find that all the ancient Colleges were 


established for the education and instruction of 
poor scholars, members of the foundation; but 
in the fifteenth century other ranks were gra- 
dually introduced also. By this means the 
lecturer was stimulated by the largeness of the 
classes, and the pupil by emulation, while the 
opportunities of a truant life were removed. 
Accordingly laws were frequently promulgated 
and statutes passed, with a view of bringing the 
Martinets and wandering scholars within the 
walls of the Colleges. We do not know exactly 
when this practice began ; it is generally thought 
that the College of Navarre, which was re- 
formed in the year 1464, was the first to open 
its gates to these public professors of letters. It 
is certain, that in former ages the teachers of 
grammar and rhetoric had schools of their own, 
or hired houses and hostels, where they received 
pupils ; but in this century teachers of grammar, 
or of rhetoric, or of philosophy, began to teach 
within the Colleges". He adds that in the time 
of Louis the Eleventh, the Professors who lec- 
tured on literature, rhetoric, and philosophy in 
the town, were generally left by the students 
for those who had taken up their abodes in the 

OXFORD. 343 

This is rather an enumeration of some charac- 
teristics of Colleges, than a sufficient sketch 
of their relation to the University ; but it may 
suggest points of inquiry to those who would 
know more. I will but add, that at Paris there 
seem to have been as many as fifty Colleges ; at 
Oxford at present there are from twenty to 
twenty-four; as many, I believe, were at Sala- 
manca ; at Cambridge not so many ; at Toulouse, 
eight. As to Louvain, I have been told that if 
a bird's-eye view be taken of the city, the 
larger and finer buildings which strike the 
beholder throughout it, will be found at one 
time to have belonged to the University. 




If what has been said in former chapters of 
this volume upon the relation of a University to 
its Colleges, be in the main correct, the dif- 
ference between the two institutions, and the 
use of each, is very clear. A University em- 
bodies the principle of progress, and a College 
that of stability; the one is the sail, and the 
other the ballast; each is insufficient in itself 
for the pursuit, extension, and inculcation of 
knowledge; each is useful to the other. A 
University is the scene of enthusiasm, of plea- 
surable exertion, of brilliant display, of winning 
influence, of diffusive and potent sympathy; 
and a College is the scene of order, of obe- 
dience, of modest and persevering diligence, of 
conscientious fulfilment of duty, of mutual 
private services, and deep and lasting attach- 
ments. The University is for the world, and 

OXFORD. 345 

tlie College is for the nation. The University 
is for the Professor, and the College for the 
Tutor; the University is for the philosophical 
discourse, the eloquent sermon, or the well- 
contested disputation; and the College for the 
catechetical lecture. The University is for 
theology, law, and medicine, for natural history, 
for physical science, and for the sciences gene- 
rally and their promulgation ; the College is for 
the formation of character, intellectual and 
moral, for the cultivation of the mind, for the 
improvement of the individual, for the study of 
literature, for the classics, and those rudimental 
sciences which strengthen and sharpen the 
intellect. The University being the element 
of advance, will fail to make good its ground 
as it goes; tlie College, from its conservative 
tendencies, will be sure to go back, because it 
does not go forward. It would seem as if an 
University, seated and living in Colleges, would 
be a perfect institution, as possessing excel- 
lences of opposite kinds. 

But such a union, such salutary balance and 
mutual complement of opposite advantages, is of 
difficult and rare attainment. At least the 
present day rather gives us instances of the two 


antagonistic evils, of naked Universities and 
naked Colleges, than of their alliance and its 
benefits. The great seats of learning on the 
Continent, to say nothing of those in Scotland, 
show us the need of Colleges to complete the 
University; the English, on the contrary, show 
us the need of a University to give life to 
an assemblage of Colleges. The evil of a Uni- 
versity, standing by itself, as in Germany, is 
often insisted on and may readily be appre- 
hended ; and therefore, leaving that part of the 
subject alone, I will say a few words on the 
state of things in England, where the action of 
the University is suspended, and the Colleges 
have supreme and sovereign authority. 

At the Reformation, the State not only made 
itself the head of the Anglican Church, but 
resolved to suppress, or nearly so, its legal 
existence. It not only ignored the idea of a 
central authority in Christendom ; but it went 
very far towards ignoring the existence of a 
Church in England itself I believe I am right 
in saying that the Church of England, as such, 
scarcely has a legal status. Its Bishops indeed 
are Peers of Parliament, its chapters have 
charters, its Rectors are corporations sole, its 

OXFORD. 347 

ministers are ofRcers of the law, its fabrics have 
special rights, its courts have a civil position 
and functions, its Prayer-book is (as has been 
observed) an Act of Parliament ; but, as far as I 
know, there is no corporation of the United 
Church of England and Ireland, though that 
title itself be a legal one. The Protestant 
Church, as such, holds no property, and exer- 
cises no functions. It is an aggregate of many 
thousand corporations professing one object, and 
moulded on a common rule. The nearest ap- 
proach to corporate power lay in its Convo- 
cations, which were at least three in number, 
not one, — those of Canterbury, of York, and of 
Dublin; and these have been virtually long 
obsolete. The Protestant Church would be an 
imperium in imperio, considering the immense 
wealth, power, and influence of its constituent 
members, were it itself a corporation. 

The same spirit which destroyed the legal 
incorporation of the religious principle, was the 
jealous enemy also of the incorporation of the 
intellectual ; and the civil power could as Kttle 
bear a University as it bore a Church. Accor- 
dingly, Oxford and Cambridge shared the fate 
of the Hierarchy ; the component parts of those 


Universities were preserved, but they them- 
selves were superseded; and tliere would be 
almost as great difficulties now in Protestant 
England, in restoring its Universities to their 
proper place, as in restoring its Church. It 
is true, that the Colleges themselves are impor- 
tant political bodies, independent of the civil 
power; but at the same time thej are national 
bodies; thej represent not the liuman mind, 
but sections of the political community; and 
the civil power is itself nothing else than an 
expression of national power in one or other of 
its aspects; whereas a University is an intel- 
lectual power, as such, just as the Church is a 
religious power. Intellect, as well as Faith and 
Conscience, are authorities simply independent 
of State and Nation ; State and Nation are but 
different aspects of one and the same power: 
and thus the State and Nation will endure chap- 
ters and colleges, as they bear city companies 
and municipalities, but not a Church, not a Uni- 
versity. On the other hand, considering the 
especially popular character of the English con- 
stitution, and how congenial to it is tlie existence 
of organs of public opinion and of representative 
bodies, it is not wonderful that the Collegiate 

OXFORD. 349 

system has not merely remained in these later 
centuries, but has been cherished and advanced. 
I am not denying this political value of the 
Colleges as counterpoises to the government of 
the day. The greatest weight has actually been 
given to their acts and decisions in this point 
of view. Oxford has been made the stage on 
which political questions have been tried, and 
political parties have carried on their contests. 
This was particularly instanced at the time of 
that famous Session of Parliament, in which 
Catholic Emancipation was granted. It is well 
known that the king then on the throne was 
averse to the measure; and it was felt that an 
adhesion to it on the part of the University 
would exert a material influence on his feelings ; 
and the question to be determined was what 
opinion had the University upon it. In the 
summer of 1828, Sir Robert Peel is said to 
have consulted* those who were most intimately 
in his confidence in Oxford^ as to the effect 
which would be produced upon its members 
by a ministerial project in favour of Catholics. 

• Since this was written, Sir R. Peel's narrative has been 
given to the world, which seems to contain nothing inconsis- 
tent with it. 


His friends belonged to a section of the Univer- 
sity, who lived very much in their own circle ; 
and who, as resting both on academical dis- 
tinction and connection with the great world, 
did not know, and did not represent, the senti- 
ments of the Colleges. Accordingly, drifting 
with the tide of London opinion themselves, 
which the necessities of the state and the con- 
venience of the Government, and Parliamentary 
agitation, had for some time made more and 
more favourable to Emancipation, those con- 
siderable persons returned for answer, that the 
important act might be passed any day, and that 
men would go to bed and rise again, without 
being at all the wiser or more anxious for what 
had taken place. The Minister seems to have 
committed himself to this opinion ; and, in con- 
sequence, confident of a successful issue of the 
experiment, he took a bold, and as it turned 
out, an unlucky step. Member for the Uni- 
versity as he was, and elected on the very 
ground of his opposition to the Catholic claims, 
he resolved on resigning his seat, and presenting 
himself for reelection, with an avowed change 
of opinions. He did this, or at least his friends 
for him, under the conviction that his trium- 

OXFORD. 351 

phant appeal to the votes of the academical 
constituency, on which he reckoned, would be 
the best evidence to his Master that the feeling 
of the country had undergone that revolution 
which had already, openly or secretly, taken 
place among statesmen. And hence the ex- 
traordinary vehemence of the contest which 
followed; the country party, whom the Colleges 
represented, being confident of swaying the 
determination of the king and ejecting the 
minister from office, if they managed to eject 
him from the representation. 

Political importance is of course the protec- 
tion of those who possess it. They who can 
do so much for or against a Minister, can do as 
much for themselves ; and in consequence, the 
Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge are perhaps 
the best protected interests in the whole country. 
They have endured the most formidable attacks, 
without succumbing. It was against the wall 
of Magdalen College, as it has been expressed, 
that James the Second ran his head. That 
College received the brunt of the monarch's 
attack, and in the strength of the nation re- 
pelled it. Twenty years ago, when Reform 
was afloat, when boroughs were disfranchised. 


corporations created, sees united, dioceses re- 
arranged, chapters remodelled, church property 
redistributed, and every parsonage perplexed 
with parliamentary papers of inquiry and tables 
of returns, the Colleges alone escaped. A de- 
termined attack was made upon them by the 
Ministry of the day, and great apprehensions 
were excited in the minds of their members. 
However, calm, perhaps selfish, calculators at 
Oxford said : " Nothing can touch us ; the Es- 
tablishment will go, but not the Colleges" : and 
certainly after one or two sessions, after strong 
speeches in Parliament fiom Secretaries of State 
and experimentalists in Education, and commit- 
tees, gatherings, and manifestoes on the part of 
the members of Colleges, it was owned by friends 
of Government, that its attempt upon them was 
a mistake and a failure, and the sooner Govern- 
ment gave it up, the better for Government. 
There is no political power in England like a. 
College in the Universities; it is not a mere 
local body, as a corporation or London com- 
pany ; it has allies in every part of the country. 
When the mind is most impressible, when the 
affections are warmest, when associations are 
made for life, when the character is most in- 

OXFORD. 353 

genuous and the sentiment of reverence is most 
powerful, the future landowner, or statesman, or 
lawyer, or clergyman comes up to a College in 
the Universities. There he forms friendships, 
there he spends his happiest days ; and, whatever 
is his career there, brilliant or obscure, virtuous 
or vicious, in after years, when he looks back on 
the past, he finds himself bound by ties of grati- 
tude and regret to the memories of his College 
life. He has received favours from the Fellows, 
he has dined with the Warden or Provost; he 
has unconsciously imbibed to the full the beauty 
and the music of the locale. The routine of 
duties and observances, the preachings and the 
examinations and the lectures, the dresses and 
the ceremonies, the officials whom he feared, the 
buildings or gardens that he admired, rest upon 
his mind and his heart, and their shade becomes 
a sort of shrine to which he makes continual 
silent offerings of attachment and devotion. It 
is a second home, not so tender, but more noble 
and majestic and authoritative. Through his 
life he more or less keeps up a connection with 
it and its successive sojourners. He has a 
brother or intimate friend on the foimdation, or 

he is training up his son to be a member of it. 



When then he hears that a blow is levelled at 
the Colleges, and that they are in commotion, — 
that his own College, Head and Fellows, have 
met together, and put forward a declaration 
calling on its members to come up and rally 
round it and defend it, a chord is struck within 
him, more thrilling than any other; he burns 
with esprit de corps and generous indignation; 
and he is driven up to the scene of his early 
education, under the keenness of his feelings, to 
vote, to sign, to protest, to do just what he is 
told to do, from confidence in the truth of the 
representations made to him, and from sympathy 
with the appeal. He appears on the scene of 
action ready for battle on the appointed day, 
and there he meets others like himself, brought 
up by the same summons ; he gazes on old faces, 
revives old friendships, awakens old reminis- 
cences, and goes back to the country with the 
freshness of youth upon him. Thus, wherever 
you look, to the North or South of England, to 
the East or West, you find the interest of the 
Colleges dominant; they extend their roots all 
over the country, and can scarcely be overturned, 
certainly not suddenly overturned, without a 

OXFORD. 355 

The consequences on the Colleges themselves 
are not satisfactory. They are withdrawn in an 
especial way from the action and the influence 
of public opinion, than which there is no greater 
stimulant to right action, as things are, nor a more 
effective security against dereliction of duty. 
The Colleges, left to themselves, in the course of 
last century became shamefully indolent and 
inactive. They were in no sense any longer 
places of education; they were for the most 
part mere clubs, and sinecures, and almshouses, 
where the inmates did little but enjoy them- 
selves. They did next to nothing for the 
youth confided to them ; suffered them to follow 
their own ways and enjoy their own liberty, 
and often in their own persons set them a very 
bad example of using it. Visitor they prac- 
tically had none ; and there was but one power 
which could have exerted authority over them, 
and most naturally and suitably too; I mean 
the University; but the University could do 
nothing. The University had no means of act- 
ing upon the Colleges; it was but a name or a 
privilege; it was not a body or a power. This 
seems to me the critical evil in the present 
state of the English Universities, not that the 


Colleges are strong, but that the Uniyersity has 
no practical or real jurisdiction over them. 
Over the members of Colleges it has juris- 
diction, but even then, not as such, but because 
they are its own members also ; over the Head 
of the College, over the Fellows, over the cor- 
porate body, over its property, over its officers, 
over its acts and regulations within its own 
precincts, it has no practical jurisdiction at all. 
The Tutor indeed is a University office by the 
Statutes, but the College has made it its own. 

In matter of fact the only mode of affecting 
the Colleges has been by the gradual stress of 
persevering efforts, by incessant agitation, and 
by improving the tone and enlightening the 
minds of their members: by indirect means 
altogether. At the beginning of this century, 
when matters were at the worst at Oxford, some 
zealous persons attempted to bring the Univer- 
sity to bear upon the Colleges. The degrees 
were at that time taken upon no bona fide 
examination. The youth, who had passed his 
three or four years at the place, and wished to 
graduate, chose his examiners, and invited them 
to dinner, which the ceremony of examination 
preceded. Now a degree is a University, not a 

OXFORD. 357 

College distinction; and tKe admirable persons, 
to whom I have alluded, made an effort to 
restore to the University the power and the 
practice of insisting on a real examination into 
the proficiency of every one of its members, 
who was a candidate for it. Could there be a 
case in which the right of the University was 
more clear? It gave a privilege, and, one 
might surely think, had a right to lay down the 
conditions of giving it. Yet it could not in 
fact exact of its members, what was so impera- 
tively its duty, and so natural. The Colleges 
had first to be persuaded to concede, what the 
University was so reasonable in requiring. 
What took place in detail, has never perhaps 
been published to the world : so much, however, 
is riotorious, that for thirty years one College, 
by virtue of ancient rights, was able to stand 
out against the University, and demanded and 
obtained degrees for its junior members without 
examination. A generation passed, before its 
Fellows, acted on by the example and sympa- 
thizing in the sentiments of the academical 
society around them, consented to do for them- 
selves what the University had in vain attempted 
to do for them. 


The University lias thus gradually progressed 
ever since that time; not indeed towards the 
recovery of that power of jurisdiction, which 
properly belongs to it, but in separate and par- 
ticular measures of improvement. One measure 
was attempted nearly thirty years ago, by an 
eminent person, still alive, and well known in 
Dublin, and was thwarted by parties who are 
long dead; so that it may be alluded to without 
pain to any one. There are at Oxford several 
Societies or Houses, which have practically the 
rank and rights of Colleges, though they have 
not the legal status, or the property. Some 
of these at that date supported themselves by 
taking members, who, either would not be re- 
ceived, or had actually been sent away, by the 
Colleges. The existence then of these Societies 
mainly depended on the sufferance within the 
University of incompetent, idle, or riotous 
young men. As they had no endowments, they 
asked high terms for admission, which of course 
they could not fail in obtaining from those, who 
needed to be in some Society or other, with 
a view to academical advantages, and who could 
not secure a place in any other body. Evi- 
dently, nothing would have been more fatal 

OXFORD. 359 

to such establisliinents than any successful effort 
to purify the University of unworthy members. 
Now, in the gradual advance of reforms, it was 
attempted by the able person I speak of to intro- 
duce an examination of all members on their 
matriculation. But the independence and the 
interests of the Colleges and other Houses were 
at once touched by such a proposition ; and a 
vigorous opposition was set on foot, in particular 
by the Head of one Society, which aboimded in 
gownsmen of the unsatisfactory character I have 
been describing. Of course he might as well 
have shut up his Hall at once, and taken lodg- 
ings in High Street, as consent to a measure 
which would have simply cut off the supply 
from which it was filled. The private interest 
prevailed over the public; and to this day, 
though separate Colleges properly insist on the 
fitting quaHfications in the case of those who 
are to be admitted to their Lectures, the Uni- 
versity itself is not allowed to exercise its rea- 
sonable right of examining its members before 
it matriculates them. 

The late Act of Parliament affords but a 
firesh illustration of the foregoing remarks. It 
did not dare to touch the real seat of existing 


evils, by restoring or giving jurisdiction to the 
University over the Colleges, much as it pro- 
fessed to eiFect in the way of radical reform. 
And in the passage of the Bill through the 
House of Commons, unless I am mistaken, 
Ministers found it impossible to get beyond that 
part of it which related to University alterations. 
As soon as it went on to legislate for the 
Colleges, the opposition was too strong for them, 
and the whole subject was postponed by Par- 
liament, and made over for the consideration of 
a small Commission, with so many checks and 
limitations upon its proceedings, that there is 
reason for fearing that, whatever comes of them, 
the University will not be less enslaved by the 
Collegiate interest than it is at present. 



universities and seminaries: 
l'ecole des hautes etudes. 

No two institutions are more distinct from each 
other in character, than Universities and Semi- 
naries; and their very difference might seem 
a pledge that they would not come into col- 
lision with each other. Seminaries are for 
the education of the clergy; Universities for 
the education of laymen. They are for separate 
purposes, and they act in separate spheres ; yet, 
such is human infirmity, perhaps they ever will 
be rivals in their actual working. So at least 
it has been in time past. Universities grew 
out of the Episcopal Schools; and then, as 
time went on, they returned evil for good, and 
gradually broke the strength, and drained away 
the life of the institution which had given them 
birth ; an institution too, which was of far more 
importance to the Church than themselves. 
Universities are ornaments indeed and bulwarks 


to Religion ; but Seminaries are essential to its 
purity and eJEficiency. It is plain then, if the 
action and interests of the two institutions have 
conflicted, which side the Church would take 
in the quarrel. She would side for the Injured 
party, against the aggressor ; for the party more 
important to her, against the party less so. Uni- 
versities then for a long season have been sus- 
taining the punishment of past ambition ; and it 
seems hardly right to close the volume without 
saying a few words about them under this aspect. 
As Seminaries are so necessary to the Church, 
they are one of her earliest appointments. 
Scarcely had the New Dispensation opened, 
when, following the example of the Schools 
of the Temple and of the Prophets under the 
Old, St. John is recorded, over and above the 
public assemblies of the faithful, to have had 
about him a number of students whom he fami- 
liarly instructed ; and, as time went, and power 
was given to the Church, this School for eccle- 
siastical learning was placed under the roof of 
the Bishop. In Rome especially, where we 
look for the pattern to which other churches 
are to be conformed, the clergy, not of the city 
only, but of the provinces, were brought under 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 363 

the immediate eye of the Pope. The Lateran 
Church, his first Cathedral, had a Seminary at- 
tached to it, which remained there till the ponti- 
ficate of Leo the Tenth, when it was transferred 
into the heart of the city. The stiidents en- 
tered within its walls from the earliest child- 
hood; but they were not raised from minor 
orders till the age of twenty, nor did they reach 
the priesthood till after the trial of many 
years. Strict as a monastic noviciate, it never- 
theless included polite literature in its course; 
and a library was attached to it for the use 
of the seminarists. Here was educated in the 
time of Celestine, St. Eusebius, afterwards the 
celebrated Bishop of Vercellse ; and in the dark 
age which followed, it was the home from child- 
hood of some of the greatest Popes, St. Gre- 
gory the Second, St. Paul the First, St. Leo 
the Third, St. Paschal, and St. Nicholas the 
First. This venerable Seminary, called an- 
ciently the School of the Pontifical Palace, 
has never failed. Even when the barbarians 
were wasting the face of Italy, and des- 
troying its accumulations of literature, the 
great Council of Rome, under Pope Agatho, 
as I mentioned above, could testify, not indeed 


to the theological science of the school in that 
miserable age, but to its faithful preservation of 
the unbroken teaching of revealed truth and of 
the traditions of the Fathers. In the thirteenth 
century, we find it in a flourishing condition, 
and St. Thomas and Albertus Magnus lecturing 
in its halls. 

Such a prerogative of perpetuity was not 
enjoyed elsewhere. Europe lay submerged 
under the waters of a deluge ; and, when they 
receded, schools had to be refounded as well as 
churches. One of the principal results of Char- 
lemagne's visit to Rome, was the reform or 
revival of education, both secular and ecclesias- 
tical ; and on his return to the north he addressed 
his well known letter on the subject to the 
chapters and monastic bodies through his 
Empire. Henceforth the Pope made Semi- 
naries obligatory in every Diocese: as to the 
laity, they attended the public Schools spoken 
of in a former chapter. 

Seminaries then were long in possession 
before Universities were imagined; and Uni- 
versities rose out of them. And, when Univer- 
sities were established, in order to preserve the 
equilibrium between clerical and lay education. 


it was decreed, by the authority of the Canons, 
that secular learning should be studied in the 
Seminaries, and that each Cathedral should 
maintain masters for its teaching. It was fore- 
seen that, unless this was done, Universities 
would supply a higher and a wider education 
than the Episcopal Schools ; and that the clergy 
would either become inferior to the monks and 
the laity, or would be drawn within the pre- 
cincts and influence of Universities. 

The latter of these inconveniences took place. 
The lectures in the Universities, after all, were 
necessarily superior to those which a Seminary 
could furnish. Accordingly, Colleges for eccle- 
siastical students were founded in their neigh- 
bourhood, and the Cathedral Schools fell in 
reputation, and were gradually deserted. The 
youths, who would have found their natural 
home there, sometimes entered the Colleges 
aforesaid, sometimes attended the schools of the 
Regulars, sometimes lived in lodgings as other 
students. It is sufficient to refer to the Lives of 
the Medieval Saints for instances of ordination 
taking place from or at the Universities without 
Seminary training ; take, for example, St. Ray- 
mund, St. John of Matha, St. Thomas of Can- 


terbury, St. Edward, St. John Nepomucene, St. 
Caietan, St. Carlo, St. Ignatius and his com- 
panions, or St. Francis of Sales, — men, who 
lived in very various ages and countries, and 
some of whom had to repel the shameless 
assaults, to which their defenceless condition, in 
the midst of great cities, exposed them. And 
thus it was, that hy the date of the Council 
of Trent, Seminaries had all but ceased to exist ; 
and the candidates for the Priesthood, who had 
any learning and any religious training, either 
gained it for themselves, as they could, amid 
the mixed concourse of a University, or as 
members of Colleges, which had themselves 
suffered materially in their discipline from Uni- 
versity contact. 

There would be danger to their faith and reli- 
gious temper, as well as to their morals. In 
Universities, subjects of every sort were disputed 
publicly; and boys, who ought to have been 
schooled at a Seminary in distrust of the intel- 
lect and modesty of speculation, were suffered 
to imbibe a critical, carping, curious spirit, most 
unbecoming in an ecclesiastic, on the inter- 
pretation of difficulties of Scripture, or on the 
deepest questions of theology. And the state of 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 367 

tilings became still more grave, when Protes- 
tantism arose, and its adherents found means of in- 
troducing themselves into the Professorial chairs. 

It must be recollected too, that none but the 
more able, or more wealthy, or more pushing, 
would succeed in paying their way at a Univer- 
sity. But the majority of ecclesiastics would 
be poor, and without any great energy or enter- 
prise. These, in the decay of Seminaries, were 
thrown for education upon the parish schools, 
which were obviously unequal to the task. 

Such was the state of things, to which the 
Council of Trent put an end. Episcopal Semi- 
naries were restored; ecclesiastical Colleges in 
Universities suppressed; the profounder studies 
were to be taught under the Bishop's eye : but, 
to make the observance of this rule easier, it 
was provided that poorer Dioceses might unite 
to establish a Provincial Seminary, where the 
students of each would be all educated together. 
Such, I suppose, in its ecclesiastical position is 
the College of Maynooth ; and it is able in con- 
sequence to present a staff of Professors, and 
it exhibits an amount and quality of learning 
and talent, which invest it almost with a Uni- 
versity character. 


A further step in the same direction has been 
taken by the present Pope. Without interfering 
with the constitution of the Seminaries of his 
States, he has founded at Rome, at considerable 
expense, the Seminario Pio, which is to be 
filled with young ecclesiastics, taken from all 
dioceses, selected from the whole number on 
the principle of merit. Their course lasts for 
nine years, and embraces philosophy, scholastic 
theology, holy Scripture, the Fathers, canon law, 
rites, and ecclesiastical history. It has Pro- 
fessorial Chairs, and the power of granting 
degrees in Theology and Canon Law: it is in 
fact an ecclesiastical University. 

It cannot be denied, that, while Seminaries 
have been fostered and advanced durinor these 
last centuries. Universities have been out of 
favour. Two only were founded, as it would 
appear, in the sixteenth century, and these were 
expressly intended to counteract the spread of 
Protestantism. The last great Medieval Uni- 
versity was the famous foundation, or foun- 
dations, at Alcala, due to the munificence of 
Cardinal Ximenes, in the year 1500. Since 
that date, it has been usual rather to bestow on 
Collegiate institutions the privileges of Univer- 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 369 

sities, or in other words to erect a University 
in a College, than to adhere to the medieval 
type. Such appears to be the nature of the 
University, which, with the recognition of the 
British Government, has lately been foimded at 
Quebec. To the same distinction another Col- 
lege seems tending, unless civil obstacles hinder 
it, which to us is of especial interest, for the sake 
of the prelate who founded it, from its progress 
hitherto, and because its Superior is an Irish- 
man: I mean L^Ecole des Hautes Etudes at 
Paris. But, above all, it will have a definite 
place, if it proceeds, as it promises to do, in the 
history of Universities, and for that reason de- 
serves some distinct mention here. 

It was commenced by the immediate prede- 
cessor of the present Archbishop of Paris, a 
prelate of glorious memory; whose blood, 
oflPered in behalf of his flock, seems already to 
have borne those fruits, which are the usual 
result of suffering in the cause of rehgion, and 
to have called down from Heaven upon his 
flock the blessings which he so ardently desired 
for them. As one of his scholars in the seat 
of learning which he has founded, expresses it, 



Audiit, et, miseratus oves, per prselia promptus, 
Perque neces varias fertur, pia victima, pastor. 
Heu scelus infandum ! ruptae dum foedera pacis 
Nectere, et insanos tentas coliibere furores, 
Occidis, ac moriens extrema voce " Beatos, 
Si nostro", exclamas, " cessaret sanguine sanguis". 

Nor has the Archbishop's been the only blood 
by which his Institution has been sanctified, nor 
is that Institution the only school of devotion 
and science, which has occupied the spot on 
which it is placed. That spot was long ago, for 
centuries, the home of theologians, and it has 
become in the generation before us the scene and 
the monument of Martyrs. It is no other than 
the famous Carmes, where, on the terrible out- 
burst of the Revolution, in 1792, so many 
Bishops and Priests of France were mas- 

This of course is not the occasion for enu- 
merating the noble foundations which of old 
time were brought under the shadow of the 
great University of Paris, the first school of 
the Church. I have alluded to the subject in 
a former chapter. Nations, provinces, monastic 
bodies, had their several houses there, and royal 
personages and wealthy ecclesiastics rejoiced 
to leave endowments there for the benefit of 

l'ecole des hautes etudes, 371 

religion and learning. The southern and more 
healthy bank of the river was allotted to it, 
and its manifold establishments gathered round 
the hill of St. Genevieve. The Carmelites 
were originally at an inconvenient distance from 
the Saint, till Philip the Fair, King of France, 
gave them ground at the foot of her hill, suffi- 
cient for a Church and Monastery. This was 
about the year 1300; and for the last two 
centuries before the dreadful events, to which I 
have referred, it is described, in particular, as 
having been one of the most peaceable asylums 
of science and faith. When the Revolution 
came, and the clergy, hindered, by their duty 
to the Church, from taking the oaths which 
were presented for their acceptance, were sub- 
jected to an imprisonment which was to end in 
death, the Carmelite Convent was one of the 
buildings selected for their confinement. Here, 
or rather in the small church attached to the 
Convent, in the month of August, 1792, were 
crowded, first 120, and at length as many as 175 
or 200, according to various accounts, of all 
ranks and ages of the clergy. 

The first prisoners seem to have been the 
secular clergy of the city; to these were added 


a number of superannuated priests, who lived on 
pensions, and then a number of youthful semi- 
narists. Besides these, were three Bishops, 
various Professors and Preachers, and the heads 
of certain religious congregations and collegiate 
bodies. The second of September was the day 
of their memorable conflict with the powers of 
evil, then for a brief season in the ascendant. 
On that day were imprisoned together in the 
house and garden of the Carmes (besides the 
Seculars), Benedictines, Capuchins, Cordeliers, 
Sulpicians, disbanded Jesuits, members of the 
Sorbonne, and of the College of Navarre. The 
revolutionary tribunal held its sitting in one of 
the rooms of the Convent, and pronounced 
them guilty of disloyalty to France; and then 
the revolutionary soldiers impatiently burst in 
upon the prisoners to carry its sentence into 
execution. The massacre lasted for three hours ; 
eighty priests were slaughtered in the gtirden ; 
the walls of the orangery at its end, now a 
chapel, are still stained, or rather daubed over, 
with their blood. On about a hundred others 
the outward door of the Convent was opened 
for their passage into the street; they were 
called forward one by one; the assassins stood 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 373 

in double file, and, as their victims ran the 
gauntlet between them, above sixty perished 
under their blows, thirty-six or thirty-eight 
escaping into the city. These noble soldiers of 
the Church waited for their turn, and went to 
death and died, with their office books in their 
hands, and its psalms and prayers upon their 

To have lived in Paris then, and to have 
heard the report, and seen the tokens, of what 
was going on, was to have had some share in 
her agony, who of old time looked upon One 
uplifted on the Cross; yet, bitter as the sorrow 
must have been, surely it was lighter after all, 
than that which has oppressed the Catholic 
heart at other miserable seasons. It was surely 
lighter than that which overspread Christendom 
at the time when religion was overthrown in 
England, while, for a long course of years, for 
the greater part of a century, some fresh deed 
of sacrilege was perpetrated day by day, and 
a false-hearted clergy and a cowardly laity al- 
lowed the monarch and his nobles in their 
deeds of violence and avarice. For the death of 
traitors makes no sign, and whispers scarce a 
hope of a revival ; but a martyrdom is a victory. 


and a Church -which falls from an external 
blow, rises again by its inward vigour. This is 
fulfilled before our eyes in the instance of 
France, and of that memorable spot of which I 
have been speaking. Good reason why the late 
Archbishop should have placed his new institu- 
tion in that sanctuary of martyrs, himself des- 
tined so soon afterwards to be gathered to their 

Institutions, which are to thrive and last, 
generally have humble beginnings, sometimes a 
scope narrower than that which they eventually 
profess; as there has been enough to suggest, 
even in the sketches which have been set before 
the reader in these pages. So has it been, so is 
it still perhaps, in the case of the school now 
under consideration. Its first object, when it 
opened in 1845, was one indeed of high impor- 
tance in itself, being no less than that of providing 
Professors for the petits stminaires of France. 
However, it is also described as *' a noviciate of 
ecclesiastics intended for teachers of the young 
clergy", which is something of an advance in dig- 
nity and moment upon the object as originally 
conceived. When the title was given, by 
which the school is designated, does not appear ; 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 375 

but an " Ecole des Hautes Etudes", also pro- 
mises, or presaged, more than the first profession 
of its founder. It s})eaks of high studies, and 
studies for their own sake, which hardly is equi- 
valent to a school for schoolmasters. Perhaps 
it was discovered, as soon as attention was 
directed to the subject, that, in order to teach 
well, more must be learned by the teacher than 
he has formally to impart to the pupil ; that he 
must be above his work, and know, and know 
accurately and philosophically, what he does 
not actually profess. Accordingly, we find the 
students are instructed, not only in the lan- 
guages, but in the literatures, of Greece, Rome, 
and France ; in general history ; and in philo- 
sophy, and in the bearings of religion upon it, — 
in which probably are included the study of the 
Evidences of Christianity, of the objections 
made to it and their refutation. Nor is the 
direct cultivation of their minds forgotten ; the 
perfection of our intellectual nature seems to be 
judgment; and what judgment is in the conduct 
of life, such is taste in our social intercourse, 
in literature, and the fine arts. Now we are 
told that it is provided, with a largeness of 
view which does honour to the projectors of the 


Institution, that these ecclesiastical students 
should be made acquainted with the ideas and 
sentiments, the tone of mind, and character of 
thought, and method of expression, which 
distinguish the great writers both of ancient 
and modern times; in order that, while they 
exercise themselves in composition, they may 
have a really good standard to work by, and 
may learn even unconsciously to imitate what 
has become familiar to them by frequent 

Nor is this the limit of their studies; the 
present Archbishop has* added mathematics, 
physics, and geology. Little is evidently how 
wanting to complete a University course ; and 
accordingly we find they have been led for some 
time to present themselves for the formal exami- 
nations which are the condition of an academical 
degree. Two years ago they numbered as many 
as thirty -two licentiates in arts; and the doc- 
torate, which is preceded by the study of the 
Fathers and ecclesiastical history, had then been 
attained by three. Meanwhile the Synod of 
Paris has made the Institution the metropolitan 
school of the province. Moreover, an asso- 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 377 

ciation has been formed for founding burses in 
favour of poorer students, to whicli the ladies of 
the higher classes and the cures of Paris are 
liberally contributing. 

The Institution would have no pretension 
to the historical name of " University", while it 
was confined to ecclesiastics; and the present 
Archbishop, pursuing the process of develop- 
ment, which had been so rapid in its movements 
before him, has opened it to the laity. The 
two descriptions of students are kept distinct, 
except at lecture, examinations, and literary 
meetings. The lay youths are received, as it 
would appear, after the age of eighteen, and 
are educated for the Professions, while they gain 
of course the benefit of being imbued with 
sound principles of religion. Literature and 
mathematics form their principal studies; they 
are practised, moreover, as well as the eccle- 
siastics, in logical accuracy of thought, in elocu- 
tion and composition. Many of these youths 
pass on to the Ecole Poly technique, or other 
government schools; or even belong to them, 
while they attend lectures at the Cannes. 

The cause of truth, never dominant in this 


world, has its ebbs and flows. It is 'pleasant to 
live in a day, when the tide is coming in. 
Such is our own day ; and, without forgetting 
that there are many rocks on the shore to throw 
us back and break our advance for the moment, 
and to task our patience before we cover them, — 
that physical force is ever on the world's side, 
and that the world will be provoked to more 
active enmity against the -Church in proportion 
to her success, — still we may surely encourage 
ourselves by a thousand tokens all around us 
now, that this is o\xr hour, whatever be its 
duration, the hour for great hopes, great 
schemes, great efforts, great beginnings. We 
may live indeed to see but little built, but 
we shall see much founded. A new era 
seems to be at hand, and a bolder policy is 
showing itself In particular, the Church feels 
herself strong enough in the provisions and 
safeguards which a painful experience has sug- 
gested against prospective dangers, to recom- 
mence the age of Universities. Louvain re- 
vived twenty years ago ; a new University of 
Paris seems to be in prospect, or at least in 
hope; the report is current that a University 

l'ecole des hautes etudes. 379 

is soon to be erected in Austria ; and the 
University of Ireland is proving its possibility 
by entering on its work, and presaging its fu- 
ture prosperity by its triumpb over the diffi- 
culties of its commencement. 


It has been thought right to append to the foregoing 
Essays the present official Staff of the new Irish Uni- 
versity, in whose behalf they were written and are now 

Very Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D. 

Very Rev. P. Leahy, D.D. 

professors, tk. 
Sacred Scripture — Very Rev. P. Leahy, D.D. 
Dogmatic Theology— Very Rev. Fr. O'Reilly, D.D., S.J. 
Canon Law — Very Rev. Laurence Forde, D.D. 

Theory and Practice of Surgery — Andrew Ellis, 
F.R.C.S.I., Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. 

Anatomy and Physiology — Thos. Hayden, F.R.C.S.I. ; 
and Robert Ciyan, L.R.C.S.L, and K. and Q.C.P.I. 

Practice of Medicine and Pathology — Robert D. Lyons, 
M.B.T.C.D., and L.R.C.S. 


Medical Chemistry — W. K. Sullivan, D. Ph. 
Materia Medica — Robert MacDermott, A.B., M.B., 

Trin. CoU. Dub., M.R.I.A. 
Medical Jurisprudence — S. M. MacSwiney, M.D. ; 

L. Dub. Col. Phys.; M.R.C.S.E. 
Demonstrators of Anatomy — Henry Tyrrell, L.R.C.S.I., 

John O'Reilly, L.R.C.S.I., and Francis Quinlan, 


Crreek and Latin Literature — Robert Omsby, M.A., 
Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. 

Greeh and Latin Languages — James Stewart, M.A. 

Poetry and English Literature — D. F. M'Carthy. 

Irish Archeology — Eugene Curry, M.R.I.A. 

Italian and Spanish Languages — Signor Marani. 

French and German Languages — M. 1' Abb^ Schiirr. 

Ancient History and Geography — Peter le Page 

Modem History and Geography — J. B. Robertson. 

Philosophy of History — T. W. Allies, M.A. 

Political and Social Science — Aubrey De Vere. 

Political Economy — John O'Hagan, B.A. 

Geometry and Elementary Mathematics — Edward But- 
ler, M.A. 

Logic— D. B. Dunne, D.D., D. Ph. 

Fine Arts— J. H. Pollen, M.A. 

Catechist in Creed and Scripture — Rev. W. G. Penny, 


Natural Philosophy — Henry Hennessy, M.E.I.A., Dean 

of the Faculty of Science. 
Physiology — Robert D. Lyons, M.B.T.C.D., and 

Science of Mathematics — Edward Butler, M.A. 
Engineering — Terence Flanagan, M.I.C.E. 

Thomas Scratton, B.A. 


Rev. Father M. O'FeiTall, S.J. 

Rev. W. G. Penny, M.A. 

Myles W. O'Reilly, D.Ph. of Knock Abbey, Dundalk. 

Edward Walford, M.A. 

Morgan W. Crofton, M.A., late Professor of Natural 

Philosophy, Queen's College, Galway. 
Robert MacDermott, M.B. 
W. H. Scott, M.A. 

g^an of i\t ®ni(jmitg C^tl^. 
Very Rev. the Rector. 


Rev. James Quinn, D.D. 
Rev. Matthew Quinn, D.D. 
Rev. Hugh Macmanus, D.D. 

384 APPElfDIX. 

Rev. Thomas Doyle. 
Rev. Robert Dunne. 

Eight Rev. Dr. Moriarty. 
Right Rev. Dr. Leahy. 

Very Rev. the Rector. 

Very Rev. the Vice- Rector. 

Very Rev. Dr. Cussen, V.G., Limerick. 

Very Rev. M. Flannery, V.G., Dean of St. Patrick's House. 

Very Rev. D. Mui-phy, V.G., Cork. 

Very Rev. Father Russell, O.P. 

Rev. Dr. O'Brien, All Hallows. 

Rev. Father Gaffney, S.J. 

Rev. Father Rorke, S.J. 

Rev. W. Anderdon, M.A. 

Rev. D. Kane, Carlow College. 

'§tms rniH Seniors of fjousts. 
St. Patricks House — Dean, Very Rev. M. Flannery, V.G.; 

Tutor, D. B. Dunne, Esq., D.D. 
St. Mary's House (Rector's) — Dean, Rev. W. G. 
Penny, M.A. ; 
Tutor, P. Renouf, Esq. 
St. Laurence's House — Dean, Rev. James Quinn, D.D. 
Carmelite House — Dean, Very Rev. Father Bennett, 
O.C.C, Provincial. 

John F. Fowxek, Printer, 3 Crow Street, Dame Street, Dublin.